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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Trade networks in West Africa: a social network approach
Author:Walther, Olivier J.ISNI
Year:2014
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies (ISSN 0022-278X)
Volume:52
Issue:2
Pages:179-203
Language:English
Geographic terms:West Africa
Benin
Niger
Nigeria
Subjects:international trade
traders
social networks
Abstract:To date, most of the literature on trade networks in West Africa has considered networks in a metaphorical way. The aim of this article is to go one step further by showing how social network analysis may be applied to the study of regional trade in West Africa. After a brief review of the literature, the article investigates two main issues related to regional trade. The authors start by discussing how recent developments in regional trade in West Africa have contributed to challenging the social structure of traders. They then discuss the changes that have affected the spatiality of regional trade by looking at the influence of spatial location and geographic scale on traders' abilities to trade. In both cases, the authors argue that the value of social network analysis in exploring how traders have progressively adapted to social and spatial changes in economic activities has been greatly underestimated. The discussion is illustrated with the case of two trade networks located between Niger, Benin and Nigeria. Bibliogr., note, sum. [Journal abstract]
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