Bread and its subsidy

Some reflections

Authored by: José Ciro Martínez

Routledge Handbook of Middle East Politics

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  March  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138047631
eBook ISBN: 9781315170688
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315170688-36

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Abstract

The provision of foodstuffs has long been a feature of relations between rulers and ruled. Today, bread subsidies are one of the most ubiquitous welfare programs in the Middle East and North Africa. Yet while bread’s importance is apparent to inhabitants of the region scholars remain, for the most part, unable to understand or explain the foodstuff’s significance, meaning and magnitude beyond fuzzy notions of a social contract. Questions abound. After a brief excursus on the development of subsidy systems in the region, this chapter reflects on just some of the ways we can scrutinize bread.

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