“Food Fights: The Politics of Provisions in Global Perspective,” Volume 5 (2019)


Sowing the Seeds of Revolution

On the morning of December 17, 2010, Mohammed Bouazizi—a self-employed, unlicensed fruit vendor from the impoverished suburbs of Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia—approached the headquarters of his city’s provincial governor, doused himself with paint thinner, and set himself on fire. The sole breadwinner for a family of six, Bouazizi’s numerous efforts to sidestep the city’s prohibitively expensive vendor licensing fees had, over the years, provoked a handful of fines and the relentless harassment of inspection officials. On this particular morning, however, these boiling tensions came to an explosive head. After being approached, once again, by local officials regarding his “illegal” fruit cart, he tried in vain to pay a 10 dinar fine on the spot, or “the equivalent of a good day’s earnings.” Refusing his overtures, fed-up inspectors seized Bouazizi’s wheelbarrow and an estimated $225 worth of produce and equipment, comprising “the entire capital of his business.” As Bouazizi struggled to “yank back his apples,” a policewoman reportedly “slapped the scrawny young man, spat in his face and insulted his dead father.” Humiliated and dejected, Bouazizi began frantically seeking assistance, as well as the immediate return of his property, from municipal officials. Having been repeatedly snubbed, however, Bouazizi—overwhelmed and inconsolable—set himself in flames and, in so doing, ignited a revolution.



Table of Contents

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∴ Kashia Amber Arnold, Brian J Griffith, Tim Paulson, eds.

Food Provisioning and Social Control in Ancient Rome
∴ Tracey E. Watts

The Food Riot as a Form of Political Conflict in France
∴ Louise A. Tilly

Food Riots, Strikes, and Looting in Brazil between 1917 and 1962: Defining the Repertoires of Working-Class Revolt
Fernando Pureza

Literary and Visual Rememory at the 90th Anniversary of the Banana Massacre in Colombia
∴ Annie Mendoza and Tashima Thomas

Food Riots in Bangladesh?: Garments Worker Protests and Globalized Subsistence Crises
∴ Ferdous Jahan and Naomi Hossain

Global Migration, Local Charity: African Refugees, Food Provisioning, and the Declining Israeli Middle Class
Liora Gvion

Amy Bentley


Volume Resources

∴ Digital scholarly resources, archival links, images and more related to the topic of this volume.

∴ Global and local organizations, movements, and networks inspired by the traditions explored in this volume.