Urban Displacement and Trade in a Senegalese Market

An anthropology of endings

Gunvor Jónsson


ISBN: 9781800086326

Publication: March 01, 2024

Series: Urban Africa

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The Malian market at the terminus in Dakar was bulldozed in 2009 and, following privatization of the railway, passenger services in Senegal soon ceased altogether. The consequences were felt especially by women traders who had travelled the line since its inauguration, making the terminus in Dakar the centre of a thriving network of traders and migrants. To examine the fates of those whose livelihoods were destroyed or disrupted, Gunvor Jónsson spent a year with the women evicted from the terminus.

Urban Displacement and Trade in a Senegalese Market explores what happens at ‘the end’ of urban displacement, when it is all over, so to speak – when the dust has settled and people find themselves scattered in sometimes unfamiliar surroundings, trying to pick up the pieces and create something meaningful.

This book argues that rupture and ensuing displacement do not produce a clean slate where identities, networks and histories must be produced from scratch. Traders and their markets do not simply vanish into thin air when they are evicted. The book examines not only what is lost but what emerges when a dense node, such as the terminus, is dissolved and fragmented. The ethnography of the traders reveals that the aftermath of eviction in cities may lead to diasporic forms of consciousness and identity formations. Displacement, whether on a local or global scale, demands difficult adjustments and people’s capacities to adapt to new circumstances and environments vary. This book uncovers some of these different capacities and variations in traders’ reactions to displacement.

Gunvor Jónsson is Honorary Research Associate in Sociology at The Open University.

List of figures
List of tables
Spelling conventions

1 The end of the line?

2 The roots and routes of Malian trade in Dakar

3 Traders out of place: evictability and belonging at the Malian market

4 Displacement and place relations of mobile and sedentary traders

5 Persisting against the patriarchal odds

6 ‘We are all part of the Terminus’

7 Conclusion


Format: Hardback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

258 Pages

18 colour photo/halftones and 3 B&W tables

Copyright: © 2024

ISBN: 9781800086326

Publication: March 01, 2024

Series: Urban Africa

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