Cover Image
close this bookWar and Famine in Africa (Oxfam, 1991, 36 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
close this folder1. Introduction
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.1 The international context
View the document1.2 Oxfam's experience in Africa
View the document1.3 A Note on methodology
close this folder2 Food insecurity and the new world order
View the document2.1 The new world order'
View the document2.2 The position of Africa
close this folder3 Coping with change
View the document3.1 The intensification of production
View the document3.2 Political overview
View the document3.3 The development of 'Core' and 'Capitalisation Peripheral' areas
View the document3.4 The marginalisation of peripheral groups
View the document3.5 Patterns of social transformation
View the document3.6 The effects on the environment
View the document3.7 Coping with change
close this folder4 Local conflict
View the document(introduction...)
View the document4.1 Conflict and resources
View the document4.2 Wars of subsistence
View the document4.3 Breaking the continuity
close this folder5 Internal conflict
View the document5.1 Connecting local and internal conflict
View the document5.2 limitations of conventional understanding
View the document5.3 War as political economy
close this folder6 War and famine
View the document6.1 Structural considerations
View the document6.2 The overall effect of war
View the document6.3 Some basic parameters
close this folder7 The internationalisation of public welfare
View the document(introduction...)
View the document7.1 The conventions of war
View the document7.2 The internationalisation of public welfare
View the document7.3 The case for reform
View the document7.4 Oxfam's position
View the document7.5 Summary and conclusion
View the documentReferences

6.1 Structural considerations

On the structural or underlying connection between war and famine, several observations can be made. In some respects, internal war in Africa is still partly cast in an earlier mould. That is, it is fought through groups whose existence is based upon different forms of aemi-subsistence. Modern conflict, however, arises not as a process of regulation and adaptation, but from the growing instability and crisis of semisubsistence. This instability has increased since the 1970s. Modern warfare, moreover, proceeds not by resolving tensions but by massively increasing disparities between groups. It does so because the political economy of internal war dictates that systems of semi-subsistence are both targets and points of defence. The polarisation of ethnic groups and the destruction of assets reinforce the instability of semi-subsistence. Conflict in Africa should not be seen as a secondary or separate issue. It is a long-term trend and a defining characteristic in the growth of food insecurity. It is comparable to the negative aspects of economic and environmental change already discussed (3.4 to 3.6). Indeed convict, impoverishment, and drought appear to have become central aspects of a complex, antagonistic, and mutually reinforcing syndrome which has pushed many countries towards widespread food insecurity and political disintegration. In other words, enviro-economic factors are the substructure of African famine, while conflict is its super-structure.