Always Something Else: Urban Asia and Africa as Experiment

  • Language: Englisch
  • 51 pages
  • Vol. 9, 2016
  • ISSN: 2297-7058
  • ISBN:
  • Print: 978-3-905758-81-8
  • PDF: 978-3-905758-86-3
AbdouMaliq Simone

Always Something Else: Urban Asia and Africa as Experiment


The most extensive urban demographic transitions ahead will take place in Africa and Asia. These transitions occur in regions where the majority of inhabitants remain trapped in vulnerable employment, which limits the capacities to plan, save, invest, and afford critical amenities, as well as limits the horizons of what is considered possible. Yet, the aspirations for mobility, security, consumption, and attainment are enormous. How can different rationalities and practices of everyday sociality be more effectively connected to the prevailing concepts informing formal political and policymaking projects? How can incommensurable facets of urban life be folded into each other as a matter of an enlarged political practice? There is no pre-existent map that tells us how to link these equally important dimensions of urban life. Thus, any effort to consider the relationship between them is by necessity an experiment.

AbdouMaliq Simone is an urbanist and research professor at the University of South Australia and professor of sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, visiting professor at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, research associate with the Rujak Center for Urban Studies in Jakarta, and research fellow at the University of Tarumanagara. For three decades he has worked with practices of social interchange, cognition, local economy, and the constitution of power relations that affect how heterogeneous African cities are lived. Over the past six years he has re-examined some of these issues in urban Southeast Asia. He thereby acquired a substantial understanding of urban processes and change in Africa and Southeast Asia as a body of academic knowledge, and has worked on the concrete challenges of remaking municipal systems, training local government personnel, designing collaborative partnerships among technicians, residents, artists, and politicians.

Foreword by Till Förster
Urban Life where it Cannot be Lived
Everywhere and Nowhere is Habitable
No Secrets about What is Going On
Why Doesn’t What Works Actually Work?

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