Reinventing Order in the Congo: How People Respond to State Failure in Kinshasa

Overview

The populations of many Third World mega-cities have far outstripped any apparent economic basis for their size and survival. In this volume Congolese and Western social scientists cover most aspects of urban life in Kinshasa—how ordinary people hustle for a modest living; the famous "bargaining" system ordinary Kinois have developed; and how they access food, water supplies, health and education. The NGOization of service provision is analyzed, as is the quite rare incidence of urban riots. Equally interesting ...

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Reinventing Order in the Congo: How People Respond to State Failure in Kinshasa

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Overview

The populations of many Third World mega-cities have far outstripped any apparent economic basis for their size and survival. In this volume Congolese and Western social scientists cover most aspects of urban life in Kinshasa—how ordinary people hustle for a modest living; the famous "bargaining" system ordinary Kinois have developed; and how they access food, water supplies, health and education. The NGOization of service provision is analyzed, as is the quite rare incidence of urban riots. Equally interesting are the studies of popular discourses (including street rumor, witchcraft, and attitudes to big men, like musicians and preachers). The studies are full of the most startling facts and the wonderfully evocative phrases coined by ordinary Kinois as they confront the huge obstacle course that is urban life. Concrete, readable, intensely interesting, and always illuminating, this book is a model of how to do urban sociology in the developing world today.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781842774915
  • Publisher: Zed Books
  • Publication date: 3/16/2005
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Theodore Trefon is an independent researcher and consultant currently based at the Free University of Brussels. He is also President of the Brussels Centre of African Studies.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction : reinventing order 1
2 The Kinshasa bargain 20
3 The tap is on strike : water distribution and supply strategies 33
4 Food security in Kinshasa : coping with adversity 47
5 The miracle of life in Kinshasa : new approaches to public health 65
6 The diploma paradox : University of Kinshasa between crisis and salvation 82
7 Acting on behalf (and in spite) of the state : NGOs and civil society associations in Kinshasa 99
8 Hidden families, single mothers and Cibalabala : economic regress and changing household composition in Kinshasa 116
9 When Kinois take to the streets 137
10 On being Shege in Kinshasa : children, the occult and the street 155
11 The elusive Lupemba : rumours about fame and (mis)fortune in Kinshasa 174
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