Death during famine: the social and political meaning of deaths during famine

This project aims to create a novel shift in contemporary scholarship on the politics of famine by moving away from a focus solely on elites and international political economies, to focus on the everyday politics of famine in communities where famine occurs.
Project status


In 2023, at least 376,000 people experienced famine and 3.5 million people were on the edge of famine. Famines are also becoming more frequent and deadly, creating an urgent demand for us to better understand why they still occur. Scholars agree that famine has political causes, but we have failed to understand this politics. The team’s previous ethnographic work highlighted that understanding social and political meanings of famine-time deaths was crucial for understanding the politics of famine. The majority South Sudanese research team will explore these themes through a comparative ethnography in two states in South Sudan.

Principal Investigator: Dr Naomi Pendle, University of Bath

Sign up to our email newsletters