n Africa Insight - The State as a site of eating
Literary representation and the dialectics of ethnicity, class and the nation state in Kenya

Volume 39, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This article sets out to examine the state as a 'site of eating' in Africa. It argues that as an alien concept introduced only in the recent colonial past, the nation state has not been sufficiently domesticated by Africans, hence the cynical exploitation of national wealth by the powerful, because the nation has no owners. The state as a site of consumption is set against the background of older debates about the political economy of the African state and followed by a discussion of how literary and cultural production in Africa have always theorised the state as a site of eating, long before it became in vogue in the social sciences. The article argues that the moral economy of eating is further mediated by a peculiar male anxiety that can only express its rampant authority through excess and a political infrastructure of violence.

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