The Making Of The Corporate Agri-Food System In Egypt

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Abstract

This dissertation explores the histories and conditions that have enabled and that limit heightened commodification of food in Egypt. Multi-method research in Egypt indicated that while the growth of food that is made into a commodity form by corporations is not substantial in Egypt, it has contributed to the reconstitution of smallholder agriculture, growing class conflict, desert ecosystem damage, public health crises (namely, an overweight/obesity epidemic and Avian flu pandemic), and the capitalization of agriculture and food systems of neighboring countries. The dissertation examines specifically the growth over the past thirty or so years of an agroexport market (of fresh and processed high-value agriculture), an animal protein complex (of large-scale, industrial poultry, fish, dairy and beef production and/or processing) and corporate food service (e.g. franchises) and food retail (e.g. supermarkets). The research methodology contextualizes this system within a framework of 'frontier making' - the expansion of agricultural (and industrial) areas as sites of capital accumulation - in the two eras of globalization or regimes of global value relations of the long 19th century and of the neoliberal period. Building on the social science critique of historicism the double movement of the system - heightened capital accumulation in agriculture and food and limits to capital accumulation - is analyzed through three lenses: the reconstitution of peasantries, the reproductive logics of the dominant class, and parasite ecology. These three lenses complicate critiques in agrarian and food studies that the limits to food commodification via corporate control are found in producer and/or consumer agency or reflect the country's condition of underdevelopment. This research draws on political economy, agrarian studies, food studies and political ecology to explore an understudied issue in area (Middle East and North Africa) studies: agrarian change and food system re-/making in the early 21st century.

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2013-08-19
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Food and Agriculture; Egypt; Globalization
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McMichael, Philip David
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Santiago-Irizarry, Vilma
Makki, Fouad M
Mitchell, Timothy
Degree Discipline
Development Sociology
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Ph. D., Development Sociology
Degree Level
Doctor of Philosophy
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dissertation or thesis
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