Silent Violence: Food, Famine, and Peasantry in Northern Nigeria

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University of Georgia Press, Feb 1, 2013 - Social Science - 720 pages
Why do famines occur and how have their effects changed through time? Why are those who produce food so often the casualties of famines? Looking at the food crisis that struck the West African Sahel during the 1970s, Michael J. Watts examines the relationships between famine, climate, and political economy. Through a longue durée history and a detailed village study Watts argues that famines are socially produced and that the market is as fickle and incalculable as the weather. Droughts are natural occurrences, matters of climatic change, but famines expose the inner workings of society, politics, and markets. His analysis moves from household and individual farming practices in the face of climatic variability to the incorporation of African peasants into the global circuits of capitalism in the colonial and postcolonial periods. Silent Violence powerfully combines a case study of food crises in Africa with an analysis of the way capitalism developed in northern Nigeria and how peasants struggle to maintain rural livelihoods. As the West African Sahel confronts another food crisis and continuing food insecurity for millions of peasants, Silent Violence speaks in a compelling way to contemporary agrarian dynamics, food provisioning systems, and the plight of the African poor.
 

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Contents

Preface to the New Edition
xiii
Errata
xvii
Preface to the 1983 Edition
xix
Acknowledgements
xxv
Abbreciations and Conventions
xxxi
Glossary
xxxv
Introduction to the New Edition
xli
INTRODUCTION THE POLITICAL ECONOMY OF FOOD AND FAMINE
1
CAPITAL STATE AND PEASANTRY IN COLONIAL NORTHERN NIGERIA
148
HUNGER RISK AND HOUSEHOLD SECURITY
187
6 FAMINE OVER HAUSALAND 19001960
272
7 CLIMATE FAMINE AND SCARCITY IN THE 1970S
373
8 FOOD AGRICULTURE AND THE OIL BOOM 19701980
466
APPENDIX
515
NOTES
521
BIBLIOGRAPHY
585

HAUSALAND AND THE SOKOTO CALIPHATE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
39
FOOD FAMINE AND CLIMATE IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY
82

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About the author (2013)

Michael J. Watts is a professor and Class of 1963 Chair in the Geography and Development Studies Department at the University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught for thirty-five years. His many books include Global Political Ecology, Reworking Modernity, and The Curse of the Black Gold.

Bibliographic information