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Title: Between famine and malnutrition : spatial aspects of nutritional health during Ghana's long twentieth century, c. 1896-2000
Author: Nott, John Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 9144
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2016
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This is a study of hunger and malnutrition in distinct spaces and during a long period of uniquely dramatic economic fluctuation. Focusing on Ghana’s often hungry Northern savannah, its wealthy and food secure Southern forest and its youthful, expanding cities, this study seeks to explain how hunger and malnutrition form in proximate yet readily contrasted environments. Resulting from failures of domestic reproduction as well as failures of local food economies, the history of malnutrition is, in essence, a history of food and family. As a conscious concern, hunger played a mediating role in the varied and rapidly changing livelihoods seen across Ghana. Anthropology and demography give insight into the weight of nutrition in precolonial, nineteenth-century contexts as well as the effects of colonial integration. Colony-wide labour and food markets encouraged new forms of food insecurity and new modes of survival, something seen particularly clearly in the trend of north-south migration. As a less-conscious concern than hunger, nutritional health was also partially directed by the medical environment and by consensuses regarding good and bad nutrition. Born as an arm of imperial rule which sought to override indigenous understandings of health, nutritional science was both politically reactive and scientifically reductive, reflecting Western concerns regarding Africa and Western understandings of nutrition long into independence. The process of capitalist development also promoted the devaluation of domestic reproduction, with wealth and poverty determined by cash-income rather than access to human capital. This transition preceded the gender conflict and higher-risk forms of childrearing which undermined nutrition security across the country. Recently reinvigorated by the neoliberal turn of the late twentieth century, this process helps explain the endurance of malnutrition in spite of economic growth. The pursuit of these ends also helps explains postcolonial hunger as market dependency fostered epidemic malnutrition during the market collapse of the 1970s and early 1980s.
Supervisor: Doyle, Shane Sponsor: ESRC
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available