March 2018: 'Poverty and its urban niches'
30 March 2018
West African Research Centre, Senegal
Regional lead: Omar Gueye, Cheikh Anta Diop University
This workshop is part of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) project ‘Beyond Development: Local Visions of Global Poverty’, which is part of the poverty research network (a cross-institutional and interdisciplinary collaboration based between the University of Warwick and the University of Glasgow). ‘Beyond Development: Local Visions of Global Poverty’ aims to use the insights and methodologies of the arts and humanities to critically analyse constructions of poverty and narratives of poverty alleviation (especially ‘development’) within a cross-cultural and diachronic framework. Studies of poverty have often been dominated by econometric approaches, which can be flattening and do little to increase our understanding both of the multi-dimensional nature of poverties around the world and how ideas of poverty and its solutions have been conceptualised in different times and different places. The project is a collaboration between law and history in particular, and considers the way in which history can be used as a tool of social justice. regarding poverty alleviation by subverting mainstream narratives by indicating how they are historically constructed. We aim to collaborate with global partners to explore the historical experiences of and responses to poverty, to explore the historically constructed nature of poverty and to use alternative narratives to disrupt mainstream development narratives.
Poised on the West African Atlantic, Senegal played an important role in the historic unfolding of colonialities and postcolonialities, the making and unmaking of global empires. Poverty is a significant legacy of these historical processes and today around half the population of Senegal is considered to live in persistent poverty. Despite the prevalence of poverty, the stories of the ways that people experience and resist poverty are seldom narrated and historicised. In this workshop we will consider the dialogues between poverty and urban landscapes. Poverty is a macro problem affecting large scale cities such as Dakar, but it is experienced in micro spaces, differentiated according to different scales.
In this workshop we explored the ways poverty interacts with different spaces, how it is unevenly distributed across centres and suburbs, how different niches of poverty are created, how poor people, such as prostitutes, beggars, and child workers, interact with urban environments and manage resources. This workshop was an opportunity to explore the urban ecology of poverty, and the multiple forms of resistance to the structural inequalities faced by many.