Bundles of choice: Variety and the creation and manipulation of Kenyan Khat's value

Neil Carrier*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This article examines the enormous variety evident in the 'social life' of Kenyan khat (miraa) and the role of this variety in the creation and manipulation of value. The article, after a discussion of the literature on value and its relevance to miraa, describes variables used in distinguishing the many different types of miraa, describes how consumers associate themselves with certain varieties and suggests why some varieties are more valued - culturally and economically - than others. The article then looks at the international trade in miraa, and how value is manipulated as exporters - well positioned to exploit different 'fields of value' - blend different varieties together to ensure a decent financial reward. It concludes by emphasising that understanding miraa requires an appreciation of its complex particularity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-437
Number of pages23
JournalEthnos
Volume71
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006

Keywords

  • Commodities
  • Khat
  • Value
  • Variety

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