This paper explores the development of market roles and transactions in fuel-efficient stoves in Darfur from 1997 to 2008 as a grounded example of how subsistence markets are socially constructed in postconflict settings. Using a combination of archival texts, interviews, and real-time discourses by protagonists, this study explains the who, what, why and how of emergent marketplaces by showing how development interventions come to imbue market participants and transactions with socially (re) constructed meanings. The fitful emergence of subsistence marketplaces for fuel-efficient in Darfur is punctuated by development interventions which at times under- or misrepresent market participants and by successes and failures in bringing together trainers, producers, sellers, consumers and users of fuelefficient stoves. Subsidies and handouts delay and distort the emergence of grassroots demand, choices, and prices; a plurality of competing development interventions re-shape the supply. By the end of 2008, the subsistence market for fuel-efficient stoves catches momentum, engaging over 52% of the Darfuri communities in market transactions for the product. As market participants gain voice and influence they reshape the market to favour mud stoves over metal stoves. Reports by several development organizations suggest that among fuel-efficient stove users, 90% use mud models, and 49% of women who own both mud and metal stoves prefer mud stoves.

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Keywords Subsistence marketplaces, Critical discourse analysis, Development interventions
JEL International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations (jel O19), Africa (jel O55)
Sponsor The research received financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and a 2007–2008 Canadian–African Capacity Building Grant for Private Sector Development Research in Africa co-funded by the Investment Climate and Business Environment Research Fund (ICBE RF), The International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and TrustAfrica (Ford Foundation).
Persistent URL,
Journal Journal of Business Research
Note Prior versions of the manuscript were presented at The Second Subsistence Marketplaces Conference: Sustainable Consumption and Commerce for a Better World, The Growing Inclusive Markets Forum, and the 2008 World Conference of the International Council for Small Business.
Abdelnour, S.R, & Branzei, O. (2010). Fuel-efficient stoves for Darfur: The social construction of subsistence marketplaces in post-conflict settings. In Journal of Business Research (Vol. 63, pp. 617–629). doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2009.04.027