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  • Shipton (1990) African Famines and Food Security- Anthropological Perspectives
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Shipton, Parker

          1990 African Famines and Food Security: Anthropological Perspectives. Annual Review of Anthropology 19:353-394.

In the article, Shipton outlines the diverse causes and effects of Famines in Africa. He focuses on the changes socially and economically. First off, Shipton explains the several reasons why famine is such a large problem in Africa. The famine's Causes range from environmental, social, economical and to governmental (I reworded to keep the word "range" but this could be reworded better). One example of this is the governments of African nations push their farmers to grow cash crops instead of some foods, in which can lead to a food shortage. Shipton hi-lights sp that due to the economic structure and cultural reasons, women, the elderly and rural farmers often get the worst of the famine. He creates list of things that African's can do to help themselves through a famine including diversifying crops as well as saving and sharing their crops. He even suggests alternate and unconventional sources of food for when the Africans become in dire need.
    Shipton elaborates on the social effects of famine in Africa. He notes how the "-spheres of exchange"- use quotation marks only for direct quotes.  This phrase does not need quotation marks become ravaged as many are forced to work harder or sell their morality ?do you mean prostitution?  if so say so. The kinship of Families crumbles, as fathers cannot support all of its members. As more members of a population are affected by the famine, they are forced into doing more or different work in which blurs the normal divisions of labor. Shipton describes that because of the wide spread struggle, many social plagues, such as ethnic bias, are eliminated. He also points out how food quickly becomes a political tool during the famine.
    Shipton's main goal of the article was to construct the causes and effects of the famines in Africa. He rounds up his points and concludes that the normal workings of society fall apart during a famine but, society is not destroyed, it is reworked in that all people are equal in the mutual struggle. Lastly, he puts the majority of the blame on the nations' governments. The countries failed economic and domestic choices are a major contributor to the harsh effects of the famine.
    The article was very detailed and backed up with resources. Shipton's final conclusion is very agreeable not sure what you mean by "agreeable". I question aspects of the article that focus on how Africans can deal with the famine individually as I doubt many of them will read this article. Shipton demands asks for a better understanding on how aid fosters create dependency among refugees. A detailed study on this topic would be an excellent follow up to this article.

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