Publication details

Green Tea in the Sahel: The social history of an itinerant consumer good. The Canadian Journal of African Studies 46, 1: 39-63.

Article

Author(s): Diawara, Mamadou; Röschenthaler, Ute
Year of publication: 2012

Abstract: Since the liberalisation of the market in the 1990s, the amount of green tea imported from China to the Sahel has dramatically increased. This article traces some of the stages in the development of green tea from its introduction in the early nineteenth century by Moorish traders from Morocco to a mass consumer good in the Sahel and the adjoint Savannah regions. Having started as a beverage with medicinal and vitalising properties, it was adopted by the aristocratic urban elite in Sahelian trading towns, and much later via the pastoralists by the general population, while spreading out further south. The gradual democratisation of green tea is related to the changing norms of tea consumption, of family authority, and to different stages in the packaging, naming and presentation of tea, together with sugar. Green tea has become the most popular drink in cities such as Bamako, where it remains strongly associated with its Moorish introduction.

Keywords: History, globalisation, Green tea, consumption, trade, West Africa

Research area: Research Area 2: The Dynamics of Normative Orders: Rupture, Change, Continuity
Research project: Arenas of the Immaterial: How Human Actors Deal with Diverging Norms of Intellectual Property
Subject(s): ethnology

Further information: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00083968.2012.659578

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