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Jonsson, Gunvor (2019) 'The Need to Travel: Malian Women Shuttle Traders, Autonomy and (Mis)trust in Neoliberal Dakar.' Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute, 89 (4). pp. 739-758.

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Abstract

Recent infrastructural developments in Senegal have severely impacted on the livelihoods of female bana-banas from Mali, a group of mobile traders operating in the Mali–Dakar corridor: transportation costs have significantly increased, travelling has become a more exhausting experience, and fatal accidents have become more frequent during journeys. Why did the bana-banas continue these arduous journeys? Why was their physical presence required in Dakar, and why did they not rely more extensively on social networks to facilitate their transnational trade? This article examines the conditions of autonomy, flexibility and limited trust that characterized the bana-banas’ livelihoods and necessitated their continued mobility from Mali. The recent infrastructural transformations have led to an increased commercialization and disarticulation of Malian trade networks in the Senegalese capital, and, due to personal circumstances, the women have often been cut off from networks. However, unlike general expectations of the ways in which networks evolve under conditions of neoliberalism, the bana-banas have not turned to personalized relationships of trust in Dakar, which might have facilitated their trade from a distance. The article contributes to the growing literature on social networks and trust by exploring how transnational trade does and does not work at this historical moment and in the context of gendered constraints.

Item Type: Journal Article
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > Department of Anthropology & Sociology
ISSN: 00019720
Copyright Statement: © International African Institute 2019. This is the author accepted manusript of an article published by Cambridge University Press in Africa: Journal of the International Africa Institute, https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972019000883
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.1017/S0001972019000883
Date Deposited: 31 Jul 2019 07:49
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/31398

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