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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Transactions and informality: financial needs and relationships in colonial Dakar, 1914-1944
Author:Petrocelli, Rachel M.
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines (ISSN 0008-0055)
Geographic term:Senegal
Subjects:urban population
informal sector
Abstract:This article examines certain everyday strategies in which Dakarois engaged as they negotiated the challenging economic terrain of the colonial capital (now capital of Senegal) from the late 1910s to the mid-1940s. Civil court cases provide a unique view into the types of questions urban dwellers confronted and the solutions they devised in transacting with one another within the context of official policies that sought to keep resources among most of the population at a vital minimum. Analysis of those cases and other evidence from that era reveals that Dakarois' greatest resources were each other: neighbours, family members, and people of common origin provided opportunities in concrete and credit form. Practices such as pawning objects and lodging funds with individuals became ways people crafted financial strategy without fully interfacing with colonial structures. This article therefore argues that the types of transactions that became important to Dakar's urban setting in the first half of the twentieth century illustrate the roots of the informal economy that later became deeply associated with African cities. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]