Through the food lens : the politics of everyday life in urban Burkina Faso
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The subject of the thesis is the everyday life of several Muslim and one Christian family residing in different parts of Bobo-Dioulasso, the second largest town in Burkina Faso, situated in the south west, on the axis between Mali and Ivory Coast. Through ethnographic descriptions of food events I explore larger issues of everyday existence in urban West Africa. The joint use of `traditional' and `western' foods shows that the average Burkinabe shifts between several worlds in which s/he feels more or less comfortable. One is the home, where eating and other practices are traditional and safe, the other the outside world, where one is always at risk of the unknown. At the same time the outside world is a space invested with expectations, excitement and possibility of success. I explore the ways in which people negotiate between the `traditional' world, which they know and understand, and the `modern' ways of life, to which, while with hesitation and apprehension, they aspire. In order to understand people's everyday actions, I analyse their everyday lives, starting from the home life and everyday feeding practices, through celebrations and rituals, and their relationship with and ideas about the outside world through the media. Finally, I explore people's ideas about the future they aspire to, both for themselves and for their families.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy