Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Collective Foods: Situating Food on the Continuum of Private-Common Property Regimes

In this article, I explore food sharing, one of the most salient social practices in rural Namibia. In so doing, I develop a model that situates food on the continuum between private and communal property regimes. I argue that the place it takes is largely shaped by the social costs involved in excluding someone from having a share. Those costs are situational, and as they rise, basic food, once privately owned, becomes quasi communal and is shared. The model is explored with qualitative and quantitative data about food transactions, which also facilitate an investigation of when, where, and why demands are articulated and typically met.