'Riots, Patronage and the Politics of the Surplus Population in Kinshasa'

Date
Tuesday 12 Jan 2021, 16:00 - 17:00
Type
Seminar
Spoken Language
English
Room
Online
Ticket information

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Dr Joe Trapido

What is the link between riots, recent scholarship on ‘surplus populations’ and distributive politics in low-income countries, especially Africa?

Based on fieldwork in Kinshasa, ‘Masterless Men’; Riots, Patronage and the Politics of the Surplus Population in Kinshasa makes a link between riots, recent scholarship on ‘surplus populations’ and distributive politics in low-income countries, especially Africa.

Tracing the history of a political demonstration turned riot, it shows how distribution structures the interactions between rich and poor in the city. Situating the riot in a context where subjects are dependent on the market for goods but are not able to sell their labour reliably, the talk will show how the riot is a rational intervention in a place where elites do not see popular support as especially important, and where occupying space and controlling circulation and distribution are the primary political-economic imperatives.

About the speaker

Dr Joe Trapido, senior teaching fellow SOAS, obtained a PhD at University College London. He has conducted fieldwork on patronage in Congolese music, on city politics in Kinshasa, on Congolese migrants in Europe and South Africa, and on the political economy of capital flight and underdevelopment in Kinshasa. His most recent works are 'les Combattants: ideologies of exile return and nationalism in the DRC', to be published in the Journal of Refugee Studies and “’Masterless Men': Riots, patronage and the politics of the surplus population in Kinshasa,” which will appear in Current Anthropology in 2020.

In the last 8 years he has also been a member, activist, and writer of grant applications for the IWGB trade union, a union which has organized the new working class in London - especially migrant outsourced and low paid self employed workers. He hopes to submit a paper about this work soon.

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