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Do our bodies know their ways? Villagization, food insecurity, and ill-being in Ethiopia's lower omo valley

Stevenson, EGJ; Buffavand, L; (2018) Do our bodies know their ways? Villagization, food insecurity, and ill-being in Ethiopia's lower omo valley. African Studies Review , 61 (1) pp. 109-133. 10.1017/asr.2017.100. Green open access

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Abstract

This article investigates food security and well-being in the context of development-forced displacement in Ethiopia. In the lower Omo, a large hydroelectric dam and plantation schemes have forced people to cede communal lands to the state and business speculators, and indigenous communities have been targeted for resettlement in new consolidated villages. The authors carried out a food access survey in new villages and in communities not yet subjected to villagization and complemented this with ethnographic research carried out over a period of four years. The results of the two methodological approaches were inconsistent. The survey data suggest that household food access was poor in both places but better in villagization sites than in the other communities. The ethnographic research, however, suggests that village settlers were unable to feed themselves from the irrigated plots they were allotted and were therefore dependent on food aid. They spoke of indignity, bodily discomfort, and the severance of meaningful social relations. This article discusses the contrast between the information generated by the different research methods and asks how this tension relates to two major narratives about development: development as a process through which the state actualizes a national dream, and development as a process that creates affluence for some by impoverishing others.

Type: Article
Title: Do our bodies know their ways? Villagization, food insecurity, and ill-being in Ethiopia's lower omo valley
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/asr.2017.100
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/asr.2017.100
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Resettlement, displacement, food security, poverty, well-being, ecological change, research methods, Ethiopia
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1572723
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