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Life in a shrimp zone: aqua- and other cultures of Bangladesh's coastal landscape

Paprocki, Kasia ORCID: 0000-0001-5202-351X and Cons, Jason (2014) Life in a shrimp zone: aqua- and other cultures of Bangladesh's coastal landscape. Journal of Peasant Studies, 41 (6). 1109 - 1130. ISSN 0306-6150

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Identification Number: 10.1080/03066150.2014.937709


This essay questions the possibilities of food sovereignty for producing a radical egalitarian politics. Specifically, it explores the class-differentiated implications of food sovereignty in a zone of ecological crisis – Bangladesh's coastal Khulna district. Much land in this deltaic zone that had previously been employed for various forms of peasant production has been transformed by the introduction of brackish-water shrimp aquaculture. This has, in turn, caused massive depeasantization and ecological crisis throughout the region. Through an examination of two markedly different polders (embanked islands) – one which has been overrun by shrimp production and one that has resisted it – we ask how coastal communities and their members have variously negotiated their rapidly changing ecologies and food systems based on their relative class position and access to land. We highlight the multiple meanings that peasants from different classes ascribe not just to shrimp, but also to broader questions of adaptation, community and life in uncertain terrains. We show that while food sovereignty in non-shrimp areas has averted the depeasantization affecting shrimp areas, it has not necessarily led to greater equality in agrarian class relations. To achieve such ends, we suggest that a broader conception of agrarian sovereignty provides a critical and necessary corollary to self-determination in agricultural production.

Item Type: Article
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Additional Information: © 2014 Taylor and Francis
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2017 11:28
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:58

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