The Unbearable Lightness of African Cities

Förster, Till. (2018) The Unbearable Lightness of African Cities. Social Dynamics, 44 (3).

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As elsewhere, cities in Africa exist as ensembles of houses, streets, social events, and practices and at the same time as objects in the minds of their inhabitants and visitors. Cities always have an imagined double as nobody can experience a city in all its parts and cultural dimensions. Urbanity as a way of living is intimately connected with partial, often contradictory, "uncanny" experiences of the city - but as imagined objects and communities, cities are most often seen as entities. Imagining the city thus means to accommodate idiosyncratic as well as collective views in one image, creatively mediating between one and many. As a practice, imagining calls for an analysis of how urbanites in Africa situate themselves in their cities as social spaces and how they build on their shared everyday experience. This contribution thus conceives urbanity as social practice that binds town dwellers to their cities as social spaces. Urban imagination transforms everyday experience into a sedimented image of the city as an object that town dwellers can relate to in meaningful ways.
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Fachbereich Ethnologie > Visuelle und politische Ethnologie (Förster)
UniBasel Contributors:Förster, Till
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Taylor and Francis
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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edoc DOI:
Last Modified:22 Oct 2018 14:19
Deposited On:22 Oct 2018 14:10

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