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Accepted Paper:

Situated Social Inequality: Making Sense of Residential Rental Price in Lagos, Nigeria  
Joy Obadoba (University of Lagos)

Paper short abstract:

Global urban policy, especially those on housing, has a long history of advocacy for adequate housing for the urban poor, anticipating that countries will strive to achieve similar outcomes. This paper examines urban housing realities in Lagos as informed by residents' daily live experiences.

Paper long abstract:

Housing plays a significant role in country wide development. Research on housing shows that there is a high degree of housing inequality in Lagos, as housing takes up a major part of households' income. Therefore, the objective of the paper, based on a micro-sociological study in the private housing supply system and an ethnographic study in Lagos through questionnaires and interviews, provides a subtle expression of the appealing complexity of situational inequality. Given the city's persistent housing affordability and prevailing social inequality, many people live in unintended housing, and landlords drive up housing rental prices. The findings of the paper show a spontaneous unequal power relationship, which contradicts the city's existing social inequality structure in Lagos. These moments can impose a sense of relief on private homeowners who are assumed to have a particular social prestige while bringing more hardship to semi-formal and slum residents and other suppliers who have lower prestige. This emergent situational inequality, the paper argues, provides lower-class people with affective elements that can contribute to making sense of housing, poverty, lifestyle, and the conceptualisation of Lagos. This dialectical situational inequality does not become a practical living strategy but redefines individual philosophies of living in Lagos, embodied through narratives. Therefore, the paper suggests that the sociological account of situational inequality showcases an approach to interpreting the meaningfulness of micro-housing experiences regarding urban conditions, thereby enriching the understanding of the relationship between housing and inequality.

Keywords: situational inequality, housing, rental price.

Panel Urba16
Africa's urban futures and positionalities towards Global Urban Policies
  Session 2 Friday 2 June, 2023, -