Multiple Positionality: A Challenge for West African Urbanists
Koenig focuses on urban specialists in three West African cities: Dakar, Bamako and Ouagadougou. Urbanists are members of a bureaucratic class and citizen-residents of the cities they plan, run and criticize. Koenig draws on interviews with urbanists in the three cities and participant observation in Bamako to show that urban specialists follow at least three different logics: the logic of planners; the logic of economic and political realism; and the logic of urban citizenship. As planners, they attempt to put their own imprint on the city based on their technocratic understanding of city systems. As realists, they position themselves as members of developing countries with limited resources and subject to corrupt practices. As residents, they act like their non-urbanist co-citizens, sometimes in ways counter to what they believe as rational planners. Koenig concludes that this multiple positionality reflects the contradictions and the political-economic stresses of rapid urban growth.
This research was funded by an American University fellowship. As usual, I am responsible for all interpretations presented here.
- Bocquier, Philippe, and Sadio Traoré. 2000. Urbanisation et Dynamique Migratoire en Afrique de l’Ouest. Paris: L’Harmattan.Google Scholar
- Diarra, Balla, Moïse Ballo, and Jacques Champaud. 2003. Structure Urbaine et Dynamique Spatiale à Bamako, Mali. Bamako: Editions Donniya.Google Scholar
- Koné, Yaouaga F. 2009. Le foncier urbain à Bamako et ses logiques d’expropriation (déguerpissement) et de recasement: Le cas de Sénou. Report to American University.Google Scholar
- Marie, Alain. 1989. L’État contre la société: Révolution et politique urbaine au Burkina Faso 1982–87. Paris: ORSTOM (mimeo).Google Scholar
- Ouédraogo, Dieudonné, and Victor Piché, eds. 2007. Dynamique Migratoire, Insertion Urbaine et Environnement au Burkina Faso: Au-delà de la houe. Paris: L’Harmattan and Ouagadougou: Presses universitaires de Ouagadougou.Google Scholar
- Skinner, Elliott. 1974. African Urban Life: The Transformation of Ouagadougou. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
- Touré, Moussa. 2002. Le programme speciale ‘Sauvons Notre Quartier’ à Djicoroni-Para (Commune IV du District de Bamako): Enjeux fonciers. Mémoire DEA in Urban Geography, ISFRA, Bamako.Google Scholar
- UN-Habitat. 2014. The State of African Cities: Re-imagining Sustainable Urban Transitions. Nairobi: UN-Habitat.Google Scholar