Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa

Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa

Agrarian Questions in Egypt and Tunisia

By Habib Ayeb & Ray Bush

Anthem Frontiers of Global Political Economy and Development

‘Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa’ examines the political economy of agrarian transformation with case studies of Egypt and Tunisia. It critiques the dominant tropes of food security offered by the international financial institutions and promotes the importance of small-scale family farming in developing sustainable food sovereignty.

Hardback, 216 Pages

ISBN:9781785270871

September 2019

£80.00, $125.00

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
  • Links

About This Book

‘Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa’ studies the political economy of agrarian transformation in the Middle East and North Africa. Examining Egypt and Tunisia in detail as case studies, it critiques the dominant tropes of food security offered by the international financial institutions and promotes the importance of small-scale family farming in developing sustainable food sovereignty. Egypt and Tunisia are located in the context of the broader Middle East and broader processes of war, environmental transformation and economic reform.

The book contributes to uncovering the historical backdrop and contemporary pressures in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) for the uprisings of 2010 and 2011. It also explores the continued failure of post-uprising counter-revolutionary governments to directly address issues of rural development that put the position and role of small farmers centre stage.

‘Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa’ uniquely presents a political economy of agrarian transformation in the MENA region by problematising the persistent politicisation of food and rural (under)development exemplified in the case studies of Egypt and Tunisia. These cases highlight the ways in which de-development has led to the persistent impoverishment of the countryside and its uneven consequences for the ways it reproduced power, politics and inequality. The political economy of food in the region is played out in the broader complex of global food regimes and their contestation by counter-hegemonic initiatives for food sovereignty.

Reviews

"Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a timely and powerful contribution that helps us understand the socio-ecological fragility of the region. It locates current and speculative food crisis within debates of agrarian transformations and food systems. It fills a gap in critical agrarian studies given that discussions on the relation between the political economy of agriculture, farming and food security in the MENA region have been nearly absent from critical agrarian debates in leading peasant studies journals". — Yasmine Moataz Ahmed (2020): Food insecurity and revolution in the Middle East and North Africa: agrarian questions in Egypt and Tunisia, The Journal of Peasant Studies, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2020.1846673

Examines the political economy of agrarian transformation with case studies of Egypt and Tunisia. The authors explore the continued failure of post-uprising counter-revolutionary governments to directly address issues of rural development that put the position and role of small farmers centre stage

‘Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa is a powerful corrective to conventional wisdom that small-scale farming systems are unable to anchor meaningful and sustaining development paths. Invoking recurrent peasant resistances in Egypt and Tunisia, Habib Ayeb and Ray Bush assess the impacts of global value relations and imperial ideologies of “food security” on state formation, land politicisation and agrarian underdevelopment.’ — Philip McMichael, Author of Food Regimes and Agrarian Questions

This book definitively rescues the question of food security from apolitical, neoliberal discourse by offering solid and long-awaited critical class analysis of the agrarian question in two most important countries in the region. A classic.' — Maha Abdelrahman, Reader in Development Studies and Middle East Politics, University of Cambridge, UK

‘This is an important and innovative book highlighting the importance of the agrarian question in the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. Offering a systematic critique of food security policies, Ayeb and Bush meticulously describe uneven rural development and point, convincingly, to food sovereignty as an alternative. A must-read!’ — Sami Zemni, Professor of Political and Social Sciences, Centre for Conflict and Development Studies, University of Ghent, Belgium

In Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa, Habib Ayeb and Ray Bush undertake the ambitious project of surveying and analyzing data on agrarian systems in Egypt and Tunisia from the 1800s to the present moment. The book will be particularly useful for students and scholars in Middle Eastern area studies, history, or political science who want to incorporate food and agricultural systems into their understandings of the MENA. This book would be an appropriate core text in an undergraduate survey course on political economy in the MENA. It could also provide important supplements to undergraduate and graduate food studies courses, which often focus on the United States, Mexico, and western Europe, by introducing topics of food insecurity, food sovereignty, and agricultural policies in the MENA. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2020.094.039

Author Information

Habib Ayeb is a social geographer, researcher and professor at the University of Paris 8 in Saint Denis, France, since 1992.

Ray Bush is professor of African studies and development politics at the University of Leeds, UK.

Series

Anthem Frontiers of Global Political Economy and Development

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Agrarian Transformations and Modernisations; 2. War, Economic Reform and Environmental Crisis; 3. The Agrarian Origins of Regime Change; 4. Food Security in Egypt and Tunisia; 5. Farmers and Farming: Tunisia; 6. Farmers and Farming: Egypt; 7. Food Sovereignty; References; Index.

Links

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