Geopolitics, Food Security, and Imaginings of the State in Qatar’s Desert Landscape

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4 Scopus citations


In June 2017, a geopolitical crisis that emerged in the Arab Gulf between Qatar and several of its neighboring countries resulted in the severing of diplomatic ties and the imposition of a land, sea, and air embargo on Qatar. This article explores how the import, production, and consumption of food in Qatar came to constitute a key geopolitical axis during the first year of the crisis. Building on scholarly work that examines food as not just a part of the economic and social fields but also a form of political engagement, I argue that food became an important arena of politics during the blockade in several ways. First, the state’s reorganization of trade networks and its support for Qatari agricultural production became a site for the expansion of the state’s food security agenda. Second, the consumption of food—and the physical space of the supermarket itself—became a geopolitical battleground as new trade arrangements led to the replacement of products made by “blockading countries” with those from alternative ones. The intensification of local agricultural production, in turn, forged a “buy local” consumer culture that shaped, and was shaped by, nationalist sentiments. Looking closely at the import, production, and consumption of food during the blockade illuminates the ways in which food is an everyday medium through which state ideologies and state imaginings of the nation are constructed and circulated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-35
Number of pages11
JournalCulture, Agriculture, Food and Environment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the American Anthropological Association.


  • Middle East
  • food security
  • geopolitics
  • nationalism
  • the state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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