This panel looks at local institutions and everday political culture in provincial places, not only rural villages, but also trading centres and towns.
How are local institutions and everyday political culture being challenged by the growth of small towns? In the developing world rapidly expanding cities have been the setting of much of the recent research on social and political change on the continent. They have also been the focus of much development oriented funding. We want to look at challenges in more provincial places, not just rural villages, but also the thousands of trading centres and towns that are becoming, perhaps, the dominant landscape of the developing world. To what extent are the theoretical frameworks developed in the context of the urban centres helpful for understanding changes in small towns or district capitals? How are youth and the emerging middle classes shaping institutions in provincial places? How might we link changes in larger and smaller urban centres? What are the limits of urban theories derived from megacities and how do they shape the way we consider social and political transformations in the world?