The benefits of famine : a political economy of famine and relief in southwestern Sudan, 1983-1989 /
David Keen.
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1994.
xvi, 289 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.
0691034230 (acid-free paper)
More Details
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c1994.
0691034230 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. [261]-277) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1994-12:
Keen has done a marvelous job of exposing powerful local, national, and international actors who have variously manipulated the famine tragedy in the Sudan to serve their narrow self-interests. On the local scene, he has ably analyzed how domestic power brokers, namely the merchants, army officers, local and central government officials, and various guerrilla movements in the South benefited from this social tragedy. The unusual strength of the book is the way in which the author has skillfully demonstrated how different regimes in Khartoum exploited Western security perceptions in the region for their own political and strategic ends. Amidst Cold War politics, aid donors feared that linking relief aid with progress on peace negotiations and human rights, might have produced backlash against their vital security interests in the region. This belief encouraged Khartoum to define unilaterally the relief problem and how to solve it and, in due course, to pass judgment on its own effort. A brief comment by Keen on the effectiveness of relief delivery and administration in the wake of the end of the Cold War would have been immensely instructive. Otherwise, the book should be very valuable to international development scholars and foreign aid administrators. S. M. Rugumamu; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 1994
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Unpaid Annotation
David Keen argues that famines, such as that which devastated the Dinka of Sudan in the 1980s, often have powerful beneficiaries within the affected nation, including political elites and traders. Meanwhile, shortcomings in the manner of international intervention, while contributing to famine, may offer significant political and bureaucratic benefits for international donors. Famine is not necessarily an apocalyptic natural disaster: it may have functions as well as causes. Drawing on a range of historical information and the accounts of famine sufferers, aid providers, and government officials, Keen explains the causes of the Sudanese famine, extracting vital lessons about the future of effective famine relief.Identifying those Sudanese interests that actively promoted famine and obstructed relief, Keen shows how the assets of the politically powerless Dinka were forcibly transferred to beneficiary groups. In a sense, and contrary to the emphasis of Amartya Sen, it was the Dinkas' wealth,rather than their poverty, which exposed them to famine in a context where they lacked political redress against exploitation. For the most part
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
List of Tables
List of Abbreviations
Overviewp. 3
Famine and Exploitation in Historical Perspectivep. 18
Victims and Beneficiaries: A Case Study of Famine as a Combination of Exploitative Processesp. 76
The Inadequacy of Relief: A "Policy Success" for Powerful Groups in Sudan?p. 129
The Inadequacy of Relief: The Role of International Donorsp. 173
Discussion and Conclusionsp. 211
Notesp. 239
Bibliographyp. 261
Indexp. 279
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem