The Complex Relationship Between Human Dignity, Food Symbols, and Food Insecurity


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Department of Religion and Theology


There is a nexus between concepts of human dignity, cultural and religious food symbols and the problem of food insecurity. This study explores this complex relation aiming to advance the thesis that cultural and religious symbolisms around food that perpetuate food insecurity, implicate concepts of human dignity and, as such, the challenge of food insecurity is one of the human values rather than of technique. In that regard, the processes, which consider food insecurity without considering the value of human dignity, are unlikely to yield plausible results. Without disregarding other approaches, it seems that the systematic handling of human dignity in relation to symbols attached to food production and distribution has potentially much to contribute. Therefore, this study draws on a distinctive African conception of human dignity to demonstrate its potential to address the problems of food insecurity by way of contesting cultural and religious symbolism about foods.