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Zoning in on Food Riots, Wild Food and Food Security in Urban Cameroon

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Title: Zoning in on Food Riots, Wild Food and Food Security in Urban Cameroon
Author: Sneyd, Lauren Quinn
Department: Department of Geography
Program: Geography
Advisor: Fraser, Evan D.G.
Abstract: This doctoral dissertation contributes to ongoing efforts to understand the causes and consequences of food related unrest or ‘food riots’, and to know more about the roles that wild, forest foods play in urban food and nutritional security in Cameroon’s humid forest zone. It builds upon recent research on food security challenges in the African context through presenting data gathered over the course of five field visits to Cameroon between 2010 and 2013. Over the course of the research more than 400 household and market surveys of wild food traders and consumers were conducted, as well as over 100 semi-structured elite interviews. The dissertation proceeds through briefly reviewing the literatures on riots and forest products in Africa before detailing the methodology that informed the research. Subsequently, two manuscripts on riots are presented. The first offers a content analysis of media reports on the 2007-08 and 2010-11 riot events that sought to explain a link between food price volatility and riots in 14 African countries. The second riot-related manuscript presents a comparative analysis of the riots that occurred in Haiti and in Cameroon in 2008. The thesis then turns to the wild food theme through presenting a manuscript rooted in survey data that shows how wild foods feature in the diets of urban Cameroonians, and that reveals local perspectives on the factors that impede the consumption of these foods. The final manuscript on wild foods contributes to the efforts of human geographers to better conceptualize the ‘zone’ in their research. It draws on survey data to show how the humid forest zone is a consequential concept vis-à-vis the analysis of Cameroon’s urban wild food trade. Overall then, to summarize the intellectual contributions of this work, the analyses presented in this dissertation show that food needs to be decentered from the study of riots in the African context, and that food must be brought to the fore in studies of edible wild forest products.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/8589
Date: 2014-12
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