P131
Popular claim-making, public authority and governance in urban Africa

Convenors:
Lalli Metsola (University of Helsinki)
Stream:
Location:
KH209
Start time:
29 June, 2017 at 14:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

The panel brings together scholars who work on the interaction between popular claims and administrative responses in various African urban and peri-urban contexts, in order to enable systematic comparative debate on their modalities, aesthetics, and consequences.

Long abstract:

The process of rapid urbanization in Africa profoundly changes the conditions of popular claim-making and the ways in which it takes place. Urban contexts provide opportunities for novel forms of grievance, aspiration, organization, communication and belonging, giving rise to regular claims focusing on access to land, services, housing, and security, among others. Such concrete claims tend to be tied to a desire for recognition, justice, and representation. The interplay between popular demands, and administrative and policy responses - making, accommodating and rejecting claims - is instrumental in the production and transformation of institutions of welfare, membership in the political community ('citizenship') and public authority - in other words, state formation. The panel brings together scholars who work on the interaction between popular claims and administrative responses in various African urban and peri-urban contexts, in order to enable systematic comparative debate on their modalities, aesthetics, and consequences. The panel invites papers that engage these themes through empirically grounded examinations of particular claim-making processes, focusing for example (but not exclusively) on the following: - the rhetoric of claim-making; who makes claims, how are they made, and in what contexts?; - notions of desert (i.e. who deserves what) and justice in articulating and rejecting claims; - the institutional outcomes of claim-making and their accommodation; i.e. the emergence of particular norms, policies, and governmental structures; - the relationship between claim-making and governance; i.e. how do popular claims contribute to the evolution of particular governance styles, and how do particular ways of making claims stem from existing relations of governance.