"Elsewhere": an essay on borderland ethnography in the informal African city

Matlon, Jordanna (2015) "Elsewhere": an essay on borderland ethnography in the informal African city. Ethnography, 16 (2). pp. 145-165.

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Abstract

In this article I reflect upon my experience as an ethnographer within the informal African city, which I describe as a borderland. In the contemporary African city informality prohibits peripheral men from achieving manhood, predicated on marriage, which requires steady work. As perpetual social juniors they fantasize about an elsewhere to which an ever-porous world exposes them but which stands in stark contrast to their lived experiences. Black urbanism (Simone, 2010) situates this mediated experience of elsewhere, an imagined global conceived simultaneously as a space of creativity, possibility and disillusionment through its linkages with members of the black diaspora glorified through not productive but consumption-oriented identities. Positing that we are both borderland figures, I discuss my interactions/intersections with peripheral men in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. I consider how my identity as a woman from the African diaspora entailed a direct encounter with this elsewhere, and how this influenced their lives.

Item Type: Article
Language: English
Date: June 2015
Refereed: Yes
Subjects: B- ECONOMIE ET FINANCE
Divisions: TSE-R (Toulouse)
Site: UT1
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2017 15:39
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2018 13:24
OAI ID: oai:tse-fr.eu:27860
URI: http://publications.ut-capitole.fr/id/eprint/22846

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