Accepted Paper:

The logic of "open reciprocity" of the Tanzanian Union in Hong Kong and China  


Sayaka Ogawa (Ritsumeikan University)

Paper short abstract:

In this presentation, I discuss the dynamics of Tanzanian Unions formed in Hong Kong and China by focusing on the continuity between the strategies of their informal business and the logic of "gambling on open reciprocity” in their union to discuss the non-Western civil society.

Paper long abstract:

From the beginning of this century, the grassroots of transnational informal trades between China and African countries are rapidly taking place. African traders who flocked to China, while conflicting with intellectual property rights, immigration and commercial laws, etc., purchasing a variety of products, including copied, knockoffs and counterfeits, and transport them to their home country. The Tanzanian traders in China and Hong Kong formed their own unions intended to 1) rise the fund for meeting contingencies such as illness, death, forced repatriation and so on; 2) obtain the various information of the home country; 3) facilitate transnational commercial transaction by providing assurances for cash and commodities transfer; 4) solute various conflicts with the host societies. However, these unions include a multitude of the "commercial travelers" those who coming and going between China/Hong Kong and Tanzania while the core member of the union is the relatively long-stay broker/middlemen. The business of China has high speculative nature so that some of traders never come back again to China/Hong Kong. Therefore, the membership of the union has a high fluidity. They can't invite the members' contribution to the union on the basis of expectation on reciprocity. In this presentation, I discuss the continuity of the logic of highly uncertain informal business and the logic of "gambling on open reciprocity" in their unions formed in China/Hong Kong to discuss the non-Western civil society.

Panel RM-MRB04
Migration and transnational dynamics of non-western civil societies