Food riots: Media perspectives on the causes of food protest in Africa
- 1k Downloads
When food prices spiked in 2007–8, urban Africa experienced more instances of food riots than any other part of the world. Problems were then encountered again during the 2010–11 food price spikes. This paper explores the cases of 14 African countries where food riots occurred during these two periods by presenting a qualitative content analysis of news reports on the riots drawn from both global and local African news sources. This analysis highlights the ways in which the media portrayed the links between food price rises and food riots in Africa. Briefly, our results show that the international media generally portrayed poverty and hunger as the factors that linked the incidence of food price rises with the occurrence of riots. By contrast, the African media tended to portray food riots as being caused by a more complex set of factors, including citizen dissatisfaction and people’s ability to mobilize. Exploring both the international and local interpretations of the drivers behind the food riots is important for the understanding of the multi-scalar and multifaceted factors that shape increasing food insecurity in urban Africa.
KeywordsAfrica Food riot Food price rises Urbanization Media analysis
- Africa Progress Panel. (2012). Jobs, justice and equity: Seizing opportunities in times of global change. Lausanne: Africa Progress Report 2012.Google Scholar
- allAfrica. (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). http://allafrica.com/.
- Al Jazeera. (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). http://www.aljazeera.com/.
- Associated Press. (2008). Food and fuel price hikes hit Africans hard. Associated Press Google Scholar
- BBC (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). http://www.bbc.co.uk/.
- Beddington, J. (2010). Food security: Contributions from science to a new and greener revolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 365, 61e71.Google Scholar
- Berazneva, J., & Lee, D. R. (2011). Explaining the african food riots of 2007–2008: An empirical analysis.Google Scholar
- Bigman, D. (2011). Poverty, hunger, and democracy in Africa: Potential and limitations of democracy in cemeting multiethnic societies. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillian.Google Scholar
- Brillat-Savarin, J. A. (1825). The physiology of taste or meditations on transcendental gastronomy. Translated by P. Davis. New York: Dover Publications.Google Scholar
- Clapp, J.A., Fuchs. D.A. (2009). Corporate power in global agrifood governance. MIT PressGoogle Scholar
- Demeke, M., Pangrazio, G., & Maetz, M. (2009). Initiative on soaring food prices. Country responses to the food security crisis: Nature and preliminary implications of the policies pursued. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
- Dougill, A. J., Fraser, E. D. G., & Reed, M. S. (2010). Anticipating vulnerability to climate change in dryland pastoral systems: using dynamic systems models for the Kalahari. Ecology and Society, 15(2), 17.Google Scholar
- Financial Times. (2001). Era of low-cost food is over, study warns. Reporter: Clive Cookson. Financial Times Google Scholar
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). (2009). The state of food insecurity in the world: Economic crisis-impacts and lessons learned. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
- Foresight. (2011). The future of food and farming, executive summary. London: The Government Office for Science. http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/bispartners/foresight/docs/food-and-farming/11-547-future-of-food-and-farming-summary.pdf accessed 1.4.11.Google Scholar
- Gibbon, P., Havnevik, K. J., & Hermele, K. (1993). A blighted harvest: The world bank and African agriculture in the 1980s. London: James Currey and Africa World Press.Google Scholar
- Godfray, H., Beddington, J.R., Crute, I.R., Haddad, L., Lawrence., Muir., Pretty, J., Robinson, S., Thomas, S., Toulmin, C., (2010). Food security: The challenge of feeding 9 billion people. Science ExpressGoogle Scholar
- Goldstone, J. (1991). Revolution and rebellion in the early modern world. Berkley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Greenberg, J., & Hier, S. (2009). CCT surveilence and the poverty of media discourse: A content analysis of Canadian newspaper coverage. Canadian Journal of Communication, 34(3), 461–486.Google Scholar
- Hall, S. (1997). Representation: Cultural representations and signifying practices. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.Google Scholar
- Holt-Giménez, E. (2009). From food crisis to food sovereignty. Monthly Review, 61(3), 142–56.Google Scholar
- IAASTD. (2009). Agriculture at a crossroads: Executive summary of the synthesis report. Washington: International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development.Google Scholar
- Institute of Development Studies. (2009). In N. Hossain & R. Ebyen (Eds.), Accounts of crisis: Poor people’s experiences of the food, fuel and financial crises in five countries. London: Institute of Development Studies.Google Scholar
- IRIN. (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). http://www.irinnews.org/.
- Le Quotidien Mutations. (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). http://www.quotidienmutations.info/.
- Malthus, T. (1798). An essay on the principle of population as it affects the future improvement of society. London: Printed for J. Johnson, in St. Paul’s Church-Yard.Google Scholar
- Manez, M., Moors, E., & Fraser, E. D. G. (2011). Socioeconomics, policy, or climate change: What is driving vulnerability in southern portugal? Ecology and Society, 16(1), 28.Google Scholar
- Minot, N. (2011). Transmission of world food price changes to markets in Sub-Saharan Africa. IFPRI discussion papers Google Scholar
- Ouest France. (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). http://www.ouest-france.fr.
- Patel, R., & McMichael, P. (2009). A political economy of the food riot. Review, XXXII(1), 9–35.Google Scholar
- Pinstrup-Andersen, P. (2010). In P. Pinstrup-Andersen (Ed.), The African food system and its interaction with human health and nutrition. Ithaca: Cornell University Press and United Nations University.Google Scholar
- Ringler, C. et al. (2010). Climate change impacts on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. IFPRI Discussion Paper. Accessed on 21 March, 2012. Available from http://www.ifpri.org/sites/default/files/publications/ifpridp01042.pdf
- Reuters France. (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). http://fr.reuters.com.
- Sen, A. (1981). Poverty and famines: An essay on entitlement and deprivation. Oxford: Clarendon.Google Scholar
- Torero, M., von Braun, J. (2010). Alternative mechanisms to reduce food price volatility and price spikes. International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council.Google Scholar
- Toynbee, A. (1934). A study of history (Abridged). London: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- UNDP United Nations Development Programme. (2012). Africa human development report 2012: Towards a food secure future. New York.Google Scholar
- UN High Level Taskforce on the Global Food Security Crisis (HLTF). (2010). Updated Comprehensive framework for action. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
- Valeurs Actuelles. (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011). http://www.valeursactuelles.com.
- World Bank. (2008). Rising food prices: Policy options and world bank response. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar