'I want to move to the Trading Centre': social and economic possibility in an 'in between' place in Malawi.
Paper short abstract:
Using an ethnographic case study from Malawi this paper argues that collapsing small towns and trading centres as either rural or urban obscures important 'connections and disruptions' taking place in Africa today.
Paper long abstract:
Scholarship on migration in Malawi has concentrated on three main dynamics - internal movement between rural areas and major urban centres, internal movement between rural areas and transnational migration. This reflects the focus of research on the rest of Africa. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Malawi, this paper explores the case of a family's move from a rural village to a small trading centre. Examining the reasons behind the move in detail it suggests that trading centres and small towns provide distinct social and economic possibilities for the people that live in them. The paper proposes there is need for more research on trading centres and small towns, and on movement or migration to them. Collapsing small towns and trading centres as either rural or urban obscures important 'connections and disruptions' taking place in Africa today.
Politics at the periphery