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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - IRI THESys

Transforming Rice Ecologies. A Case Study from Burkina Faso

Janine is a doctoral researcher in Human Geography at IRI THESys. She is a member of the research group on Changing Rural-Urban Linkages in the Global South. Her main research interests are in human-environment relations, rural-urban linkages, urban anthropology – more specifically how urban transformations occur and urban futures are shaped.

photo: Ethnographic jottings, Ruzana Liburkina

Since the global food price crisis of 2007/08 the Burkinabé national government along with a broad range of inter- and transnational actors has been pushing the rice production in the country to account for the increasing demand in the fast-growing urban centres and to reduce rice import dependency. This PhD project aims at a better understanding of the different levels and entanglements of these interventions by researching along the (rural) rice production – (urban) rice consumption nexus. The question central to this project is: how are urban consumption and rural production of rice related to each other and how do these linkages affect land(s) and livelihood(s) along and around the rural-urban continuum?


Photo: Rice meal, Burkina Faso (by Janine Hauer)

The question will be explored ethnographically, using a practice-based multi-sited approach. Fieldwork will be conducted from May 24th-November 25th starting in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso and then following the local rice chain back to the fields in the Bagré region in Southern Burkina Faso while looking at the different dimensions that address and shape each step of it. Besides describing the practices and their relations that constitute and transform the specific rice production-consumption nexus, the project asks what enables and informs the practices in question. What is known about rice by whom and how it is known ‘practically’ – by what means and channels? And how this knowing-how re-acts upon the practices that (trans)form the nexus in question? To answer these questions, establishing lasting connections and navigating within the network of experts concerned with rice at various stages is a crucial task and aim of the first fieldwork phase.

Janine received her Master’s degree from the Institute of European Ethnology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin in 2015. Her Master thesis “Landscapes of Hope: Urban Expansion in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso” emerged from and was supported by IRI THESys and was awarded the THESys Award 2015 as well as the Georg Simmel Prize for outstanding Master theses. After graduation she worked a year at the Institute of European Ethnology as junior lecturer and course coordinator. Since November 2016 Janine is employed at IRI THESys. 

Research Group: Changing urban-rural linkages across the world


photo: Janine Hauer


Janine Hauer, Doctoral Researcher
THESys Graduate Program
Phone: +49 30 2093 66343
E-mail: janine.hauer@hu-berlin.de