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French Beans and Food Scares : Culture and Commerce in an Anxious Age - Susanne Freidberg

French Beans and Food Scares

Culture and Commerce in an Anxious Age

Hardcover Published: 1st September 2004
ISBN: 9780195169607
Number Of Pages: 282

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From mad cows to McDonaldization to genetically modified maize, European food scares and controversies at the turn of the millennium provoked anxieties about the perils hidden in an increasingly industrialized, internationalized food supply. These food fears have cast a shadow as long as Africa, where farmers struggle to meet European demand for the certifiably clean green bean. But the trade in fresh foods between Africa and Europe is hardly uniform. Britain and France still do business mostly with their former colonies, in ways that differ as dramatically as their national cuisines. The British buy their "baby veg" from industrial-scale farms, pre-packaged and pre-trimmed; the French, meanwhile, prefer their green beans naked, and produced by peasants. Managers and technologists coordinate the baby veg trade between Anglophone Africa and Britain, whereas an assortment of commercants and self-styled agro-entrepreneurs run the French bean trade. Globalization, then, has not erased cultural difference in the world of food and trade, but instead has stretched it to a transnational scale.
French Beans and Food Scares explores the cultural economies of two "non-traditional" commodity trades between Africa and Europe--one anglophone, the other francophone--in order to show not only why they differ but also how both have felt the fall-out of the wealthy world's food scares. In a voyage that begins in the mid-19th century and ends in the early 21st, passing by way of Paris, London, Burkina Faso and Zambia, French Beans and Food Scares illuminates the daily work of exporters, importers and other invisible intermediaries in the global fresh food economy. These intermediaries' accounts provide a unique perspective on the practical and ethical challenges of globalized food trading in an anxious age. They also show how postcolonial ties shape not only different societies' geographies of food supply, but also their very ideas about what makes food good.

"A highly accessible and informative book on a popular topic, the geography and culture of food....[Friedberg's] research design makes French Beans a fun read for both geographer and layperson, for she traveled to four countries and interviewed a diverse cast of characters, including pack-house managers in Zambia, female farmers in Burkina Faso, and food importers in Europe. ...French Beans effectively links theory and practice while raising a number of issues of concern to the broader public. If the world is indeed evolving into a consumer-driven economy, as some geographers argue, then this volume is essential reading for all of us."--The Geographic Review "This is a very fine addition to the critical literature on commodity cultures, globalization, and agro-food networks. It speaks to the present concern many in geography have with a multiscalar 'geography of care.' Buy it, get your university library to buy it or place it on one of your course reading lists." --Progress in Human Geography "On the trail of the (preferably slender) green bean, Susanne Freidberg takes the reader on a fascinating tour of cultural foodways among the French and the British, contract farming in former colonial territories in Africa, the roles of friendship and stereotyping in assuring the flow of foodstuffs to European supermarkets, and the links in the commodity and personal chains linking small farmers and entrepreneurs in Africa with consumers in Europe whose shopping has been made anxious by fears of old and new diseases."--Pauline E. Peters, Kennedy School of Government and Department of Anthropology, Harvard University "A highly accessible and informative book on a popular topic, the geography and culture of food....[Friedberg's] research design makes French Beans a fun read for both geographer and layperson, for she traveled to four countries and interviewed a diverse cast of characters, including pack-house managers in Zambia, female farmers in Burkina Faso, and food importers in Europe. ...French Beans effectively links theory and practice while raising a number of issues of concern to the broader public. If the world is indeed evolving into a consumer-driven economy, as some geographers argue, then this volume is essential reading for all of us."--The Geographic Review "This is a very fine addition to the critical literature on commodity cultures, globalization, and agro-food networks. It speaks to the present concern many in geography have with a multiscalar 'geography of care.' Buy it, get your university library to buy it or place it on one of your course reading lists." --Progress in Human Geography "On the trail of the (preferably slender) green bean, Susanne Freidberg takes the reader on a fascinating tour of cultural foodways among the French and the British, contract farming in former colonial territories in Africa, the roles of friendship and stereotyping in assuring the flow of foodstuffs to European supermarkets, and the links in the commodity and personal chains linking small farmers and entrepreneurs in Africa with consumers in Europe whose shopping has been made anxious by fears of old and new diseases."--Pauline E. Peters, Kennedy School of Government and Department of Anthropology, Harvard University

The global green bean and other tales of madnessp. 3
Feeding the nation : the making of modern food provisioningp. 33
Burkina Faso : rural development and patronagep. 61
Zambia : settler colonialism and corporate paternalismp. 93
France : expertise and friendshipp. 127
Britain : brands and standardsp. 167
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195169607
ISBN-10: 0195169603
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 282
Published: 1st September 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.2 x 16.0  x 2.0
Weight (kg): 0.53