May 31 – Jun 3, 2023
Panel at the European Conference on African Studies at the University of Cologne
Formal and informal care networks are increasingly emerging in African countries as a way of creating solidarities and making futures. We ask what/who constitutes this future and for whom, how social networks come to be imagined, constituted, engaged, negotiated, and contested.
Social networks are crucial in confronting crisis and securing African futures. African countries are witnessing a proliferation of different forms of formal and informal care networks emerging in the context of growing health, ecological and environmental crises. Ranging from religious and neighborhood networks to self-help groups and professional solidarities, these collectives are increasingly taking a center stage as forms of distribution and sharing in the current era of the changing dynamics of the relationship between citizens, the state and the market, health and socio-economic crises, and global financialization. A growing middle-class population and new digital and mobile technologies are interacting within registers of a long history of mutual aid societies in African contexts shaping social networks in different ways. Meanwhile, the state is seemingly taking a central role in experimenting/expanding social and financial protection through different mechanisms such national health insurance schemes and cash transfer interventions, which, in turn are opening up ways of bringing people together in varied forms. Alongside these, social and economic havoc, precarity, and growing inequalities (health, economic, social), increasing marketization and access to credit continue to shape and challenge solidarity, while taking new meanings across different generations, classes, and genders in different contexts. People increasingly become part of networks as a way of creating solidarities and making futures. We ask what/who constitutes this future and for whom, how social networks come to be imagined, constituted, engaged, negotiated, and contested.
Please submit your paper proposal here.
We look forward to your submissions!
Jacinta Victoria Muinde (University of Oslo)
Edwin Ameso (University of Leipzig)
Ruth Prince (University of Oslo)
Lena Kroeker (Bayreuth University)