Alcohol in Africa: Mixing Business, Pleasure, and Politics
Alcohol in Sub-Saharan Africa has historically been a conduit for religious and political expression controlled by male elders. Over the past century and especially during the last two crisis-ridden decades, alcohol's ceremonial role has been largely displaced. Rapid income differentiation and economic marginalization have spurred production and consumption of alcohol. In many localities, expanding supply has led to drinking patterns that impinge on general social welfare. These circumstances coincide with the continent-wide implementation of structural adjustment and economic liberalization policies. One might ask, have those policies driven people to drink?
Currently, alcohol is a taboo subject for donors and African governments alike, yet it is at the nexus of many of the continent's most pressing problems. Agricultural sector decline, large-scale labor redundancy, household instability, and AIDS have cause or effect linkages to changing alcohol usage. This edited collection explores the economic, political, and social meanings of alcohol usage. The material is contextualized within a review of existing anthropological, social history, and social welfare literature on alcohol, and a broad historical overview of the continental trends in alcohol production and consumption. Both the pleasure and the pain of alcohol usage emerge, providing insight into the ambiguity of alcohol in Africa today.
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In general, the 1980s were years of economic shock and reorientation in rural
Africa. Within local agricultural commodity markets there were a number of
reasons why grain and starchy staples like bananas could readily be diverted
from food ...
Peasant agriculture held few immediate or long-range economic prospects (
Bryceson 2000b). African farmers' commodity production, combined with its
subsistence orientation and low-yielding, unstandardized agricultural output and
In effect, the agriculture and trading activities surrounding local waragi production
have provided a lifeline to the district's population. The local economy has
become far more outward oriented, with most of its production being exported to
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Changing Modalities of Alcohol Usage
For Women and Children An Economic History
Liquid Gold of a Lost Kingdom The Rise of Waragi
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