Skip to main content Accessibility help

On the Worlding of African Cities

  • AbdouMaliq Simone

How do African urban residents, who are conventionally assumed to operate within parochial, highly localized confines, operate at larger scales? How do they reach a “larger world”? The article looks at some of the overall effects on African cities and their residents of a global process of scalar recomposition and the reconfiguration of social cohesion that ensues. By examining renovations in a traditional Islamic institution, zawiyyah, an example is provided of ways in which urban Africans attempt to act effectively within larger domains.


Comment les Africains des zones urbaines, qui d'habitude sont présumés fonctionner dans des limites paroissiales fortement localisées, fonctionnent-ils à plus grande échelle? Comment communiquent-ils avec le “reste du monde”? Cet article explore quelques-uns des effets généraux, sur les cités africaines et sur leurs résidents, d'un processus global de recomposition d'échelle et de la reconfiguration de la cohésion sociale qui en découle. Grâce à l'examen des rénovations effectuées dans une institution islamique traditionnelle, zawiyyah, nous offrons un exemple des moyens par lesquels les Africains habitant en environnement urbain tentent d'agir de manière efficace dans des domaines plus vastes.

Hide All
Akyeampong, Emmanuel. 1997. “Sexuality and Prostitution Among the Akan of the Gold Coast, 1650–1950.” Past and Present: 144–73.
Agnew, John A., and Corbidge, S.. 1995. Mastering Space: Hegemony, Territory, and International Political Economy. London: Routledge.
Anderson, David M., and Rathbone, Richard, eds. 2000. Africa's Urban Past. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann; Oxford: James Currey.
Apter, Andrew. 1992. Black Critics and Kings: The Hermeneutics of Power in Yoruba Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Aronson, Dan. 1978. “Capitalism and Culture in Ibadan Urban Development.” Urban Anthropology 7: 253–64.
Augé, Marc. 1999. An Anthropology of Contemporary Worlds. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Balibar, Étienne. 1995. “Has ‘The World’ Changed?” In Marxism in the Postmodern Age, ed. Callari, Antonio, Cullenberg, Stephen, and Biewener, Carole. New York: Guilford Press.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1990. The Logic of Practice. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Carter, David M. 1997. States of Grace: Senegalese in Italy and the New European Immigration. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Castells, Manuel. 1996a. The Information Age: Economy, Society, and Culture. Vol. 1: The Rise of Network Society. Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell.
Castells, Manuel. 1996b. “The Net and the Self: Working Notes to a Critical Theory of Information Society.” Critical Anthropology 16 (1): 938.
Christopher, A. J., and Tarver, James D.. 1994. “Urbanization During Colonial Days in Sub-Saharan Africa”. In Urbanization in Africa, ed. Tarver, James D., 3348. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
Clignet, Remi. 1966. “Urbanization and Family Structure in the Ivory Coast.” Comparative Studies in Society and History 8: 385401.
Coquery-Vidrovitch, Catherine. 1991. “The Process of Urbanisation in Africa: From the Origins to the Beginning of Independence.” African Studies Review 34 (1): 198.
Constantin, F. 1996. “L'Informal International ou la Subversion de la Territorialitè.” Cultures and Conflicts 21/22: 311–46.
Cooper, Fred. 1994. “Conflict and Connection: Rethinking Colonial African History.” American Historical Review 95: 1516–45.
Cooper, Fred. 1996. Decolonization and the African Society: The Labor Question in French and British Africa. New York: Cambridge University Press.
De Boek, Filip. 1998. “Domesticating Diamonds and Dollars: Identity, Expenditure, and Sharing in Southwestern Zaire (1984–1997).” Development and Change 29: 777810.
Diouf, Mamadou. 1998. “The French Colonial Policy of Assimilation and the Civility of the Originaires of the Four Communes (Senegal): A Nineteenth-Century Globalization Project.” Development and Change 29: 671–96.
Diouf, Mamadou. 2000. “The Senegalese Murid Trade Diaspora and the Making of Vernacular Cosmopolitanism.” Public Culture 12 (3).
Duffield, Mark. 1998. “Postmodern Conflict: Warlords, Post-Adjustment States and Private Protection.” Civil Wars 1 (1): 65102.
Egg, Johnny, and Herera, Javier, eds. 1998. Echanges Transfrontaliers et Integration Regional en Afrique Subsaharienne. Paris: ORSTOM.
Fetter, Bruce. 1976. The Creation of Elizabethville 1910–1940. Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, Stanford University.
Fisiy, Cyprian. 1999. Rural Land Management and Infrastructure Development in Côte D'Ivoire. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank.
Geschiere, Peter. 1999. “Geographies of Autochthony.” CODESRIA Bulletin 3/4: 8586.
Geschiere, Peter, and Nyamnjoh, Francis. 1998. “Witchcraft as an Issue in the ‘Politics of Belonging’: Democratization and Urban Migrants' Involvement with the Home Village.” African Studies Review 41 (3): 6992.
Goerg, Odille. 1998. “From Hill Station (Freetown) to Downtown Conakry (First Ward): Comparing French and British Approaches to Segregation in Colonial Cities at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century.” Canadian Journal of African Studies 31 (1): 131.
Guyer, Jane. 1995. “Introduction: The Currency Interface and its Dynamics.” In Money Matters: Instability, Values, and Social Payments in the Modern History of West Africa, ed. Guyer, Jane, 127. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann; London: James Currey.
Guyer, Jane, and Belinga, S. Eno. 1995. “Wealth in People as Wealth in Knowledge: Accumulation and Composition in Equatorial Africa.” Journal of African History 39: 91120.
Herbst, Jeffrey. 1996. “Responding to State Failure in Africa.” International Security 21 (3): 120–44.
Hibou, Béatrice. 1999. “The ‘Social Capital’ of the State as an Agent of Deception.” In The Criminalization of the State in Africa, eds. Bayart, Jean-François, Ellis, Stephen, and Hibou, Béatrice, 69113. London: James Currey; Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Hiskett, Mervyn. 1984. The Development of Islam in West Africa. London: Longman.
Hopkins, A. G. 1973. An Economic History of West Africa. New York: Columbia University Press.
Kayatekin, S. A., and Ruccio, D. F., 1998. “Global Fragments; Subjectivity and Class Politics in Discourses of Globalization.” Economy and Society 27 (1): 7496.
Kesteloot, Christian. 1995. “The Creation of Socio-Spatial Marginality in Brussels: A Tale of Flexibility, Geographical Competition and Guestworker's Neighbourhoods. In Europe at the Margins: New Mosaics of Inequality, ed. Hadjimichalis, C. and Sandler, D.. Chichester: John Wiley.
King, Anthony D. 1990. Urbanism, Colonialism, and the World Economy: Cultural and Spatial Foundations of the World Urban System. London: Routledge.
La Fontaine, J. S. 1970. City Politics: A Study of Leopoldville 1962–63. London: Cambridge University Press.
Launay, Robert, and Soares, Benjamin F.. 1999. “The Formation of an ‘Islamic Sphere’ in French Colonial West Africa.” Economy and Society 28: 497519.
Lemarchand, René. 1997. “Patterns of State Collapse and Reconstruction in Central Africa: Reflections on the Great Lakes Region.” Afrika Spectrum 32: 173–94.
Leyshon, Andrew, and Thrift, Nigel. 1998. Money Space: Geographies of Monetary Transformation. London: Routledge.
Lock, Peter. 1999. “Military Downsizing and Growth in the Security Industry in Sub-Saharan Africa.”
Mabogunje, Akin. 1990. “Urban Planning and the Post-Colonial State in Africa: A Research Overview.” African Studies Review 33: 121203.
MacGaffey, Janet, and Bazenguissa-Ganga, Remy. 2000. Congo-Paris: Transnational Traders on the Margins of the Law. International African Institute. London: James Currey; Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Mamdani, Mahmood. 1996. Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Martin, Phyllis. 1995. Leisure and Society in Colonial Brazzaville. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mbembe, Achille. 1999. “At the Edge of the World: Boundaries, Territoriality, and Sovereignty in Africa.” CODESRIA Bulletin 3/4: 416.
Observatoire Geopolitique des Drogues. 1999. World Geopolitics of Drugs Report 1997–98. Paris: OGD.
Pons, Valdo. 1969. Stanleyville: An African Urban Community Under Belgian Administration. London: International African Institute, Oxford University Press.
Ranciere, Jean. 1998. “The Cause of the Other.” Parallax 1 (2): 2531.
Ranger, Terrence. 1986. “Religious Movements and Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa.” African Studies Review 29 (2): 169.
Rayfield, J. R. 1974. “Theories of Urbanization and the Colonial City in West Africa.” Africa 44 (2): 163–85.
Reno, William. 1998. Warlord Politics and African States. Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner.
Richards, Paul. 1996. Fighting for the Rainforest: War, Youth and Resources in Sierra Leone. International Africa Institute. London: James Currey; Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann.
Robertson, Claire C. 1997. Trouble Showed the Way: Women, Men, and Trade in the Nairobi Area 1890–1990. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Roitman, Janet. 1998. “The Garrison-Entrepôt.” Cahiers Etudes africaines 150–52: 297329.
Salau, Ademola. 1979. “The Urban Process in Africa: Observations on the Points of Divergence from the Western Experience.” African Urban Studies 4: 2734.
Sassen, Saskia. 1999. Globalization and Its Discontents: Essays on the New Mobility of People and Money. New York: Free Press.
Taylor, Paul J. 2000. “World Cities and Territorial States Under Conditions of Contemporary Globalization.” Political Geography 19: 532.
Taylor, Paul J., and Watts, Michael, eds. 1995. Geographies of Global Change. Oxford: Blackwell.
White, Louise. 1990. “Bodily Fluids and Usufruct: Controlling Property in Nairobi.” Canadian Journal of African Studies 24: 418–38.
Wright, Gwendolyn. 1991. The Politics of Design in French Colonial Urbanism. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

African Studies Review
  • ISSN: 0002-0206
  • EISSN: 1555-2462
  • URL: /core/journals/african-studies-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed