Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xviii
  2. Karen Coen Flynn
    Pages 1-29
  3. Karen Coen Flynn
    Pages 31-38
  4. Karen Coen Flynn
    Pages 67-96
  5. Karen Coen Flynn
    Pages 129-151
  6. Karen Coen Flynn
    Pages 153-174
  7. Karen Coen Flynn
    Pages 203-211
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 213-254

About this book


A rich ethnographic portrait of food-provisioning processes in a contemporary African city, offering valuable lessons about the powerful roles of gender, migration, exchange, sex, and charity in food acquisition. Based on anthropologist Karen Coen Flynn's study of Mwanza, Tanzania, this work draws on the personal accounts of over 350 market vendors, low, middle and high-income consumers, urban farmers as well as those, including children, who live on the streets. This strikingly original work offers interdisciplinary appeal to a broad audience of both students and professionals interested in anthropology, African studies, urban studies, gender studies and development economics.


anthropology capital children culture development development economics gender gender studies migration Sex transformation women

About the authors

KAREN COEN FLYNN is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Akron, USA.

Bibliographic information


"Food, Culture, and Survival in an African City presents an illuminating account of the dynamics of poverty and survival strategies in urban Africa. Using variables like culture, race, class and gender, Flynn explores how people negotiate life and survival in a poverty stricken environment. This is an excellent work that examines people's lives in urban Africa in the era of globalization and social and economic crisis. It is a must read book in contemporary urban african studies." - Joe Lugalla, University of New Hampshire

"Karen Coen Flynn's Food, Culture, and Survival in the African City uses 10 months of in-depth ethnographic research in Mwanza, Tanzania to uncover the complex ways people gain access to food and the multiple reasons why they go hungry. In her path-breaking urban research, she interviews over three hundred city dwellers including street adults and children, urban farmers, market vendors, and men and women from diverse ethnic and class groups to explore how income, gender, age, and charity affect their survival. Flynn makes an invaluable contribution to the history of modern Africa, to food studies, and to policy-making in this clearly written and richly detailed book about the ethical and economic costs of hunger and inequality." - Carole Counihan

"[This book] is original in the sense that it focuses on consumption itself: not just on the dynamics of supply into markets. Flynn is able to look both qualitatively and quantitatively at what 'food' is to various subsections of the urban population...[it] will certainly be a contribution to the field." - Jane I. Guyer, Johns Hopkins University