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Understanding African urban economies across conceptual boundaries 
Héritier Mesa (Université Libre de Bruxelles)
Sylvie Ayimpam (Institut des Mondes Africains)
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Joel Noret (Université libre de Bruxelles)
Joel Noret (Université libre de Bruxelles)
Benjamin Rubbers (Université de Liège)
Anthropology (x) Inequality (y)
Neues Seminargebäude, Seminarraum 22
Thursday 1 June, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

We are witnessing a transformation of African urban economies. This panel aims to move beyond conceptual approaches based on spatial, temporal, or epistemological dichotomies, to instead examine the relationships and interconnections between them.

Long Abstract:

African urban economies are complex and heterogeneous, and often involve an economic and spatial separation between industrial, commercial, administrative centres on the one hand, and small-scale economic activities on the other. These contrasts have encouraged dichotomous conceptual approaches based on binaries such as informal/formal, local/global, legal/illegal, urban/rural. However, we are witnessing a transformation of these urban economies. This panel aims to understand this transformation, by thinking beyond spatial, temporal, conceptual or disciplinary dichotomies. Instead, we encourage contributions that examine the relationships and circulations between such binaries. We would welcome contributions on:

1) The diversification of economic actors and wealthy individuals. Who are they today? How do they position themselves in the economy?

2) Accumulation processes and the relationship between social inequalities and the socio-economic ascent of entrepreneurs. What logics are at work in the processes of social mobility? What is the relationship between entrepreneurship, wage employment and the pluralisation of work contexts?

3) The reconfiguration of urban economies, formal and informal, through digital tools. For instance, the impact of Mobile Banking and social media on commerce.

4) The relationship between economic activity and politics.

5) The interconnection between African urban economies and the global economy (China, Turkey…).

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -
Session 2 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -