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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Dwelling on the road: routines, rituals and roadblocks in southern Ghana
Author:Klaeger, GabrielISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Ghana
social life
Abstract:The Accra-Kumasi road, one of Ghana's most important trunk roads, traverses numerous towns and settlements whose residents at times engage intimately with the road on their doorstep. In this article, the author provides ethnographic insights into the ways in which roadside dwellers conceptualize - and spatialize - the road and its roadside through distinct repertoires of movement (performed and encountered), through localized storytelling and narratives, through self-reflection, and also through disruptive and vigilante actions. He describes the spatial practices that are at the core of the dwellers' 'anthropological' experience of the road and its roadside, a space that is continuously domesticated, appropriated and, thus, implicated in the mundane and everyday. The dwellers' everyday practices, as well as the exceptional performances oriented to the road, appear as closely intertwined both with the liveliness, socialities and opportunities the road affords, as well as with its dangers and potential for destruction and death. Thus the 'ambivalent nature of road experiences', in A. M. Masquelier's (2002) phrase - namely the experience of the road as a space of both perils and possibilities - is crucial to how roadside dwellers socially produce the Accra-Kumasi road. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]