Abstract and Keywords
In the African countryside, food has a social biography which is both linear and cyclical. According to the golden-age theory, every member of the community deserves access to food, while the alternative perspective argues that not all members enjoy those rights. Both theories fall within what Stephen J. Gould called "time's cycle" or "the intelligibility of timeless order and lawlike structure." As components of time's cycle, the alternative vision and the golden-age theory address the problem of order and represent peasants' collective protest against what Mircea Eliade termed "terror of history," which refers to terrifying events such as famine. The linear nature of the social biography of food is part of Gould's "time's arrow." The old Mang'anja of Malawi referred to famine, a one-time event, as chaola, or moment of rottenness, which is different from recurrent hunger or njala. The history of Malawi's food system represents a story about irreversible change and about days and seasons.
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.