Super-diversity, urbanization and mobile communication technologies in Africa’s cities (completed)

Naluwembe Binaisa

This research project investigates the nexus between super-diversity, urbanization and mobile communication technologies with a focus on Africa’s cities. Africa is urbanizing rapidly, and cities are the locus of these demographic shifts, heightened mobility and immobility. The research investigates how the use and appropriation of mobile communication technologies reveals patterns of super-diversity in these increasingly networked cities. Cities are sites of social transformations spanning physical and social boundaries that are only partially captured through a focus on urbanization. This project seeks to disrupt simplistic binaries and trace the intersectionalities of social mobility, ethnicity, development, gender, generations and evolving spatial re-configurations within Africa’s cities. Fieldwork has been conducted in Lagos, Nigeria, the project adopting a comparative dimension across communities within this city to reveal contested boundaries of governance and mobilization. In Lagos, for example, the ongoing Lagos Megacity re-development plan, heralded as a success in providing infrastructural development, planned housing and recreational spaces, is also criticized for entrenching inequalities. The research project aims to enhance understanding of how, in Africa’s cities, social, political and economic spaces are being disrupted, re-formed, re-inscribed and networked with wider national, regional and transnational spaces through the use of mobile communication technologies. Utilizing innovative mobile methodologies, visual and digital mapping, interviews and archives, the research will promote a multi-dimensional understanding of super-diversity in Africa’s cities.

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