African Studies Centre Research Seminars: ‘No Longer the Sunshine City’: Economic Informalisation and the Crisis of Urban Modernity in Harare, Zimbabwe

Conveners: Dr Peter Brooke and Dr Rachel Taylor

Speaker: Dr. Kristina Pikovskaia, University of Oxford


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Paper abstract:


This paper considers the ‘great divide’ that emerged between the modernist mindset and the survivalist reality due to the massive economic informalisation in urban Zimbabwe from the late 1990s. As the lives of many Zimbabweans shifted to the ‘survival mode’ due to harsh economic conditions, previous expectations of a modern urban lifestyle were no longer achievable, but the urban modernity framework was still sustained by individuals, politicians, and mass media. This disconnect resulted in three crises: of the vision of the future as many people started seeing the future of Zimbabwe in the past; of urban development as people supported the narrative of Harare no longer being the Sunshine City; and of the notion of work with many not seeing informal economic activities as proper work.

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We have a limited number of seats due to Covid-regulations and only members of the University may attend in person. As a courtesy to others please wear a mask. Unfortunately we will not be able to admit anyone once capacity has been reached. As an alternative the seminar can also be accessed via Teams, where it is also open to members of the public. The Teams meeting details will be provided here ahead of the event.


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