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Some Reflections on Making Popular Culture in Urban Africa


In contemporary urban Africa, the turbulence of the city requires incessant innovation that is capable of generating new ways of being. Rather than treating popular culture as some distinctive sector, this article attempts to investigate the popular as methods of bringing together activities and actors that on the surface would not seem compatible, and as experimental forms of generating value in the everyday life of urban residents. This investigation, sited largely in Douala, Cameroon, looks at how youth from varying neighborhoods attempt to get by, and at the unexpected forms of contestation that can ensue.

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Mike Davis . 2004. “The Urbanization of Empire: Megacities and the Land of Chaos.” Social Text 22: 915

Filip De Boeck . 2005. “The Apocalyptic Interlude: Revealing Death in Kinshasa.” African Studies Review 48: 1132.

Matthew Gandy . 2005. “Cyborg Urbanization: Complexity and the Monstrosity of the Contemporary City.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 29: 2649.

Peter Geschiere , and Francis Nyamnjoh . 2000. “Capitalism and Authochthony: The Seesaw of Belonging.” Public Culture 12: 423–52.

Suhail Malik . 2005. “Information and Knowledge.” Theory, Culture, and Society 22: 2249.

Achille Mbembe , and Janet Roitman 1995. “Figures of the Subject in Times of Crisis.” Public Culture 7: 323–52.

Basile Ndjio . 2005. “Carrefour de lajoie: Popular Deconstruction of the African Postcolonial Public Sphere. Africa 75: 265–94.

Lynn Schler . 2003. “Ambiguous Spaces: The Struggle over African Identities and Urban Communities in Colonial Douala 1914–1945. Journal of African History 44: 5172.

AbdouMaliq Simone . 2004. For the City Yet to Come: Changing Urban Life in Four African Ciities. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Michael Watts . 2004. “Antinomies of Community.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 29: 195216.

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African Studies Review
  • ISSN: 0002-0206
  • EISSN: 1555-2462
  • URL: /core/journals/african-studies-review
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