Leavened Apprehensions: Bread Subsidies and Moral Economies in Jordan
International Journal of Middle East Studies
Cambridge University Press
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Martinez, J. (2018). Leavened Apprehensions: Bread Subsidies and Moral Economies in Jordan. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 50 (2), 173-193. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020743818000016
This article analyzes the micro-processes through which bread is imbued with meaning and the macro-politics that shape its subsidized provision. It begins by outlining bread’s multiple forms of value and significance, some easily quantifiable, others not. It problematizes the predominant approach to studying moral economies before putting forth an alternative framework through which to analyze the views articulated by producers, consumers and distributors when describing subsistence goods. Drawing on eighteen months of fieldwork in Jordan, the following empirical sections examine the different ways in which bureaucrats, bakers and ordinary citizens portray the government’s universal subsidy of Arabic bread. Here, I will unpack the diverse opinions encountered and discuss their links to the Hashemite regime’s polyvalent legitimating discourse. The article then dissects the politics of provisions that contribute to the bread subsidy’s paradoxical persistence. It concludes by considering the relationship between moral economies, opposition politics and authoritarian power in the context of Jordan’s ongoing food subsidy debate.
I thank the Fulbright Program, the American Center of Oriental Research and the Gates Cambridge Scholarship for generously supporting my research.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0020743818000016
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/262745
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/