Brenda Chalfin's Shea Butter Republic: State Power, Global Markets, and the PDF
By Brenda Chalfin
Shea butter (butyrospermin parkii) has been produced and bought by means of rural West African ladies and circulated at the global marketplace as a uncooked fabric for greater than a century. Shea butter has been used for cooking, making cleaning soap and candles, leatherworking, loss of life, as a clinical and sweetness relief, and most importantly, in its place for cocoa butter in chocolate construction. Now offered in particular outlets as a pricey beauty and medicinal product, it caters to the need of cosmopolitan consumers world wide for luxurious and unique self-indulgence. This ethnographic learn strains shea from a pre- to post-industrial commodity to supply a deeper realizing of rising traits in tropical commoditization, intake, international fiscal restructuring and rural livelihoods. additionally inlcludes seven maps.
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Extra info for Shea Butter Republic: State Power, Global Markets, and the Making of an Indigenous Commodity
In this market, the expansion of tropical production now guarantees a steady supply of both familiar and exotic WEST AFRICAN SHEA • 19 goods to Europe and North America. In Africa, for example, french beans, strawberries, sunflowers, and florals such as chrysanthemums, carnations, and roses, in addition to a variety of Asian vegetables—all non-indigenous —are grown for European export (Little and Dolan 2000; Jaffee 1994). Central and South America are likewise leading sources of fresh fruit and vegetables for the United States.
Each of these trends is characterized by different goals and origins and contains considerable internal contradiction. The tensions of globalization are not restricted to market forces— consumer, corporate, or financial. This is because global directives, while dominant, are not isolated from the objectives of other bodies, notably the state, as mentioned above. Not only does the success of global initiatives depend on the cooperation of states (Sassen 1996, 2000), but states also manipulate global processes for their own ends.
The chapter traces the specific ways in which new forms of commercial capital enter into the domestic shea economy and how this is guided by past state initiatives and the survival of old power blocs within and outside the state. By honing in on contests among rural suppliers to maintain ties to the state, the chapter identifies an only partial process of WEST AFRICAN SHEA • 27 state withdrawal from the shea market. It looks closely at this combined dynamic of regulation and liberalization accompanying privatization, which allowed shea suppliers in some rural areas to gain control over the terms of export sales and purchasing even as other markets and communities were rendered increasingly vulnerable to and dependent on the incursions of private buyers.
Shea Butter Republic: State Power, Global Markets, and the Making of an Indigenous Commodity by Brenda Chalfin