P132
Between Rural and Urban: Building the state in secondary towns

Convenors:
Lotje de Vries (Wageningen University)
Tim Glawion (German Institute of Global and Area Studies)
Stream:
Panels
Location:
PG0VS
Start time:
30 June, 2017 at 14:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

The panel investigates the interplay of rural and urban dynamics within secondary and tertiary administrative centers and thus aims to explore the construction of African states through diverging images from and of the periphery.

Long abstract:

Administrative centers in peripheral Africa connect the urban to the rural in two directions. Citizens in the periphery perceive secondary and tertiary towns as hubs of urban activity and possibilities. They engage them for their state institutions that are supposed to provide security and justice, as well as public services such as health and education. At the same time, institutions and individuals at the state's center, the capital, often view these decentralized towns as profoundly 'rural'. National ministries will direct few resources to those rural centers, and key state personnel might prefer to spend as little time as possible in their affected localities. We invite contributors to reflect on how citizens' experiences with administrative centers outside the capital shape the image of the state. Among other topics, we intend to look into the shifts of building or maintaining security, the flows of revenues from and to the periphery, and the presence and impact of external actors. The panel investigates the interplay of rural and urban dynamics within these secondary and tertiary administrative centers and thus aims to explore the construction of African states through diverging images from and of the periphery.