Seminar by Dr. William Monteith

Event Information
Event Date: 
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 - 2:15pm

TITLE: Showing Heart while Making Money: Twenty-Four Hours in a Ugandan Marketplace.


African marketplaces have long been understood as ambivalent spaces; as sites of compliance and transgression; domination and resistance. This ambivalence comes into sharp focus in the urban marketplaces that have absorbed so much of the African workforce over the past four decades. One the one hand, urban markets offer opportunities for the forging of new relationships, or ‘fictive kin’, beyond of the confines of consanguinity and affinity. However, on the other hand, they are intensely competitive places in which strangers skilfully intrude into one’s life. Succeeding in the market therefore requires the striking of a skilful balance between accumulation and redistribution, disclosure and concealment.

Drawing upon twelve months of ethnographic fieldwork, this article explores the ways in which people navigate socioeconomic relationships in Nakasero market, the oldest marketplace in Kampala, Uganda. In a departure from the poststructural or ‘realist’ literature on African cities, it emphasises the importance of historical cultural idioms, such as that of omutima (‘heart’) in providing meaning to the interactions of urban African inhabitants.

The seminar is open to all interested in attending.



Event Venue
MISR Seminar Room 1
Event Relevant Info

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