P157


Non-Penal Confinement in Africa 
Convenor:
Nana Quarshie (University of Michigan)
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Format:
Panels
Location:
KH111
Start time:
1 July, 2017 at 9:00 (UTC+0)
Session slots:
1

Short Abstract:

This panel examines the place of non-penal spaces of confinement, where social, economic and political control is exercised. It probes the suppression of "dangerous classes" by political authorities, and highlights the geographies of control linking incarceration in cities and in rural areas.

Long Abstract

In 1946, the Asantehene and nine other royals sent a letter to a British colonial officer in charge of administering the Asante Territories in the Gold Coast. The Asante royals complained of vagrants roaming the streets of the zongo, immigrant quarters in their kingdom's capital, Kumasi. These vagrant strangers were allegedly responsible for the death of two children, and the petitioners insisted that these 'foreign lunatics' be sent to the psychiatric asylum in Accra. For the royals, lunacy was tied to questions of urban non-belonging. They used the British-run colonial asylum to rid Kumasi of those immigrants from rural regions of French West African colonies, who had no kin to house or care for them.

This panel examines the place of non-penal spaces of confinement, where social, cultural, economic and political control is exercised, like psychiatric hospitals, sleeping sickness villages, leproseries, youth camps and labour camps, in processes of social and economic stratification and in the demarcation of urban-rural distinctions. Taking five histories of non-penal spaces of confinement in Africa since the 18th century as a point of departure, we ask: 1. How have confinement practices evolved and adapted to changes in urban-rural migration? 2. How have actors - historically and in the present - deployed institutions of confinement to manage changing socio-cultural conditions? By engaging a diversity of institutions of confinement this panel probes the suppression of "dangerous classes" by political authorities, and highlights the geographies of control linking incarceration in cities and in rural areas.

Accepted papers:

Author:

Sunday Babalola (Joseph Ayo Babalola University)

Paper short abstract:

This study examines the abuse of children and women within the socio- cultural context of Nigerian urban space. In this perspective, it discusses the use of under age children for streets and malls trading. It also examines the abuse of female children and women in the illicit sex business.

Paper long abstract:

Africa, like any other continent in the world, is fast becoming urbanized, and the extent at which the continent is fast developing in the sphere of towns, cities and mega cities is highly commendable. It is a believable opinion that, urbanization, going by its history and culture of development in any given geographical location, is not without its own attendant vices. In this world-view, this study, "Trafficking: The Abuse of Children and Women, a Socio-Cultural Menace in the Nigerian Urban Space", undergoes a study of the abuse of children and women within the socio- cultural context of Nigerian urban space. In this perspective, it discusses the use of under age children for streets and malls petty trading activities. It also touches on the abuse of young female children and women in the illicit sex business. The historical, religious and philosophical underlining factors which attributed to the rise and a steady development of these socio vices were considered. The study is empirical and phenomenological in that it depends mostly on conclusion drawn from observable events of actual abuse and degradation of children and young women. To ensure a concrete analysable study backed up with primary data, both questionnaires and interviews method of investigation were adopted. To this end, one hundred people, who were randomly selected responded to questionnaires and twelve people that were carefully selected responded to interviews. The study makes use of simple descriptive method of analysis to collate, analyse and project its findings.

Author:

Rasheed Oyewole Olaniyi (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)

Paper short abstract:

Since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999, Oyo state government embarked on aggressive urban renewal and cleanliness to meet global standards, attract foreign investment and create a new business environment for the emerging consumption market in Ibadan.

Paper long abstract:

Since Nigeria returned to democratic rule in 1999, Oyo state government embarked on aggressive urban renewal and cleanliness to meet global standards, attract foreign investment and create a new business environment for the emerging consumption market in Ibadan. The urban renewal project transformed social and economic history of Ibadan. This paper explores how government policies of urban renewal clashed with the economic aspirations of the poor in the making of everyday livelihoods on the streets and stalls. It is argued that urban renewal programmes has been counter-productive by constraining the economic empowerment of the poor and deepening poverty level. The city beautification project led to the demolition of shops in major markets in Ibadan, including Dugbe, Ogunpa, Ifeleye, Iwo-Road and Eleyele. This generated grievances among petty traders and entrepreneurs who were rendered jobless or forced to relocate to less lucrative parts of the city. A new narrative of claims to the city of Ibadan was echoed. On the other hand, during the last decade, Ibadan has witnessed unprecedented development ultra-modern consumption markets such as shopping malls, fast food joints and relaxation centres. This paper investigates the displacement of traders in the urban renewal project, re-emergence of urban middle class and the social consequences of the emerging consumption markets.

Author:

Waseem-Ahmed Bin-Kasim (Washington University in St. Louis)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores innovative sanitary projects aimed at combating epidemics in the settler and non-settler capital towns of Kenya and the Gold Coast as well as how the residents responded to the projects

Paper long abstract:

William John Ritchie Simpson - one of British Empire's foremost sanitation and plague experts - recommended the same urban plan for Accra and Nairobi, despite their very different histories, power dynamics, and landscapes. For local officials to properly enforce sanitation and contain epidemics, Simpson recommended creating distance or buffer zones between the quarters of different racial communities. In implementing Simpson's plan, officials expropriated vast swaths of land where business premises, homes, and farms were located. For various reasons, residents of the towns resisted the implementation of Simpson's blueprint. The projects yielded varying results - including slum demolition, relocation, and remodeling. Meanwhile, local resistance to his vision engendered heated controversy within various sections of the towns and caused dissent within the hierarchy of the colonial administration. The chaos often pushed colonial civil servants to disregard sanitary expert advice, empire-wide public health regulations, and led them to extend the boundaries of the cities. While scholarly works have explored Simpson's sanitary innovations in colonial Africa, they have focused on only segregation, overlooking other key components of his urban plan, including the creation of buffer zones, drains, water supplies, and housing. This paper focuses more specifically on how the chaos played out in the creation of buffer zones in Accra and Nairobi and demonstrates that sanitation served to reinforce and challenge urban planning in colonial Africa.