Food as right, food as bribe: the politicization of food distribution in rural Egypt

Author's Department

Sociology, Egyptology & Anthropology Department

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Yasmine Moataz

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Canadian Journal of Development Studies / Revue canadienne d'études du développement

Publication Date

Spring 2-7-2023



Egypt’s extensive system of food subsidies has been subject to critique. While reviews focused on the system’s inefficiency, little attention has been given to how target beneficiaries in rural areas perceived food subsidy programs prior to the implementation of the 2014 food subsidy reform. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in the aftermath of the 2011 uprisings until 2014 in the village of Al-Ab`adiyya Wālī Mizār in Fayyūm, Egypt, and drawing infrastructures as power-laden systems of inclusion and exclusion, this article points to the sense of entitlement associated with the food subsidy system among Egypt’s rural poor despite its precariousness.

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