Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Food scarcity in the midst of plenty: Theoretical and methodological implications of food accessibility in Costa Rica
by Quintero, Annette, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2011, 125; 1507616
Abstract (Summary)

Food security and famine epidemics have habitually been attributed to natural disasters, such as droughts or floods, while systematic causal factors, such as, economics have traditionally been excluded from the "food (in)security equation." Food insecurity however, is primarily rooted in spatial inequality; prompted by social-economic factors. The development of these spaces of inequality invariably plays a central function in the production, exacerbation, and eradication of food insecurity. This study examined the paradoxes and spatial inequalities that exist within the traditional framework of aggregate food security assessment models (conducted at the national level); and subsequently worked towards unpacking the neoliberal free market belief system that is embedded within assessment models at this level. Moreover, this study placed household surveys in juxtaposition to food balance sheets to elucidate how food insecurity manifests in a relatively food secure place during relatively food secure times and used the municipality of CaƱas, Gunacaste, Costa Rica as a case study. A mixed methodological approach was utilized to evaluate how socio-economic factors contribute to household food insecurity. Findings for this study revealed that different measurements produce vastly different results. An evaluation of Costa Rica's 2007 food balance sheet revealed that Costa Rica was food secure with 2,840 kilocalories available for per capita consumption while survey results showed that 37.1 percent of the research participants had at some time within the last year run out of food and not had money to buy more. Likewise a side by side comparison of food costs found that research participants spent 19 percent more of their income on food than what national data indicated. In addition, focus group discussions demonstrated that participants perceived Costa Rica's global market trade relations to be one of the primary causes affecting Costa Rican food security.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Rodrigue, Christine M.
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 50/04M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geography, Public policy
Publication Number: 1507616
ISBN: 978-1-267-18010-0
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