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Trapido, Joe (2011) 'The political economy of migration and reputation in Kinshasa.' Africa, 81 (2). pp. 204-225.

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This essay presents a history of the mikiliste, the high-living bon vivant who travels to Europe and is a central figure in Kinois urban mythology. It looks in particular at the highly theatrical exchanges engaged in by the mikiliste, which relate especially to music patronage and to designer clothing. I show how these exchanges have evolved over time, both shaping and being shaped by the political economy of Kinshasa. The essay shows how such aesthetic performances should not be discussed in isolation from wider political-economic considerations. Those who participate in economies of prestige must be connected to a material base, and the ruling class, with their access to the resources of the interior, have become ever more important participants in the mikiliste rituals of largesse. Recently, theviolent contestation of mikiliste exchange, both in Europe and in Kinshasa, indicates that such moments of largesse may be involved in reproducing politicaleconomic relations in the Congolese capital.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
Legacy Departments > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Department of Anthropology and Sociology
ISSN: 00019720
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2015 12:57

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