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Title Women and the management of household food security in Paternoster
Publication Date
Date Available
Degree MA
Discipline/Department Sociology and Social Anthropology
Degree Level masters
University/Publisher Stellenbosch University

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study focuses on the gendered social relations that are attached to food, through an exploration of women’s management of food and food security in poor households in Paternoster, a small fishing community on the west coast of the Western Cape Province of South Africa. My study explores how women navigate the everyday provision, management and distribution of food within a context of limited resources, with food understood both in terms of sustenance and as implicated in processes whereby gender norms and larger concerns with ‘respectability’ (ordentlikheid) are established and maintained under difficult economic conditions. One of the important strategies employed to ensure food security within households in Paternoster is the establishment and maintenance by and among women of foodways in and between households. An exploration of foodways between households sheds light on the various social networks that exist in Paternoster and the important role of women within these networks. Paternoster is a space where the navigation of these issues is informed by the long history of subsistence fishing in the area and the symbolism attached to fish and fishing in the ways in which the local fishing community engages with the challenges of food security. Of particular interest is how women manage individual and/or household food security in Paternoster in the light of existing gender dynamics involved in the production, collection and consumption of food. The sharp division of labour historically has meant that women have traditionally been involved in the pre- and post-harvest sector, rather than in the actual catching of fish. This study is also driven by concerns around the impacts of the changing fishing environment on food security and social relations in this small village. One of the major consequences of these changes is the feeling of impending food insecurity experienced by many households. The increase in mechanization in marine resource use activities, drastic changes in fishing policies and the process of fisheries rights allocations as well as diminishing fish stocks are systematically impacting on the social systems and lived experiences of the people who were, and still are, heavily dependent on the fishing industry in Paternoster for their livelihoods.. Paternoster has seen the development of new sources of employment as a result of the growth of tourism, which has presented women in particular with new work opportunities, including working in guest houses and restaurants. However, this is on the low wage end. In this context the management of food security within the household and between households through maintaining foodways and established food networks is predominantly the responsibility of women.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie fokus op sosiale verhoudings van gender wat verband hou met voedsel, deur‘n verkenning van vroue se bestuur van voedsel en voedselsekerheid in arm huishoudings in Paternoster, ‘n klein vissersgemeenskap aan die weskus van die Wes-Kaap Provinsie…

Subjects/Keywords Sociology and social anthropology; Food security  – Social aspects  – South Africa  – Paternoster
Contributors Walker, Cherryl; Van der Waal, Kees; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Dept. of Sociology and Social Anthropology.
Language en
Rights Stellenbosch University
Country of Publication za
Format 103 p. : ill., maps
Record ID handle:10019.1/85864
Repository stellenbosch
Date Indexed 2018-01-05

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Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za Chapter One: Introduction Food is at once both substance and symbol. “Food makes life possible but also demonstrates its complexity” (Keeling 2001: 153). In this regard, a consideration of…

…pseudonyms to all the community members I mention throughout this thesis. Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za my fieldwork experience and discuss the various ethical considerations encountered in the field. I also reflect on the limitations of…

…food security and social 9|Page Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za relations in this small village. The daily management of household food security in a context of a fishing community where households are largely dependent on the ocean…

…heightened by the dwindling 10 | P a g e Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za catches which have resulted in numerous retrenchments within the industry. According to Koenana, writing about the West Coast in the early 1990s, dwindling catches…

…presented women with new work opportunities, albeit on the low wage end, including working in guest houses and restaurants. My project is linked to the larger Stellenbosch University Food Security Initiative which aims to improve knowledge on all aspects of…

…through other sources like farming, fishing, collecting or through established food networks. 11 | P a g e Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za “Food access depends largely on household purchasing power, which varies in relation to market…

…indirectly. My project brings an important anthropological dimension to the Food Security Initiative at Stellenbosch University by exploring how issues such as the gendered division of labour, power relations and local social networks among women in…

…gender assumptions” (Van Esterik, 1998: 225). A focus on how food security is managed on a household level enriches the understanding of the ways in 12 | P a g e Stellenbosch University http://scholar.sun.ac.za which the community at large…