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BottleneckMoving, Building, and Belonging in an African City$
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Caroline Melly

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226488875

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226489063.001.0001

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Trafficking Visions

Trafficking Visions

(p.49) Two Trafficking Visions

Caroline Melly

University of Chicago Press

Accompanying cab drivers as they move along the city’s emergent highways and neglected side roads, this chapter considers what citizenship and governance look like for many urban residents in an era of intense urban construction and infrastructural impasse. The chapter argues that the traffic bottleneck indexed deep concerns about the suspension of lives and itineraries, but it also offered unexpected strategies and occasions for recuperating the meantime—for elaborating networks, hatching plans, revising legitimate practices, and claiming identities that helped bridge the inescapable present with far-off, mobile futures. In doing so, the chapter positions taxi drivers’ experiences and perspectives as normative rather than derivative, alternative, or contrary to official visions for the city. It thus works toward developing the embouteillage as a critical ethnographic framework for thinking about the paradoxes of contemporary urban belonging in Dakar more broadly.

Keywords:   urban space, construction, infrastructure, taxi driver, bottleneck, traffic, transportation, belonging, ethnography, transportation

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