Youth Cosmopolitanism: Clothing, the City and Globalization in Dakar, Senegal

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Scheld, Suzanne


City & Society, Volume 19, Issue 2, p.232-253 (2008)


Youth clothing and exchange shape cosmopolitan identities, the city, and global flows in Dakar, Senegal. How Dakarois youth use dress to shape the city and urban identity is puzzling. Despite the declining economy and for many, extreme poverty, youth dress up in stylish and provocative outfits. In Dakar, youth are increasingly entrepreneurial individuals who base the authenticity of their cosmopolitan identity on an ability to buy and sell (trade) in the urban/global informal economy. Because the informal economy is intensely competitive for both buyers and sellers, youth rely on social networks, various forms of reciprocity, and trust in order to perform their work. At times, youth engage in dishonest acts and banditry in order to sell and procure clothing. These strategies highlight the uncertainty of life in Dakar, the relativity of morality, and the creativity that youth employ to make their lives and a life for the city. In these often hidden and subtle ways, youth steer the economic cultural life of the city and keep it hooked in to the global economy. This research is based on fieldwork conducted in Dakar and New York City between 1996 and 2005. Research methods include interviews, participant observation, focus groups and engaging youth in authoring informal fashion magazines which feature their own photography and stories about contemporary clothing trends in Dakar.

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University of Westminster Migrations and Identities Interdisciplinary Research Group: ‘Metropolis in Flux: Contemporary Cultura

Jun 19 2009 - 9:00am
Jun 19 2009 - 6:00pm

Call for Papers:

University of Westminster Migrations and Identities Interdisciplinary Research Group: ‘Metropolis in Flux: Contemporary Cultural Migrations in London’

This interdisciplinary conference aims to explore how migrations and their representations have shaped London in the past decade, with a particular interest in ‘… links between questions of residence, mobility, communication and cultural consumption in the construction of identities.’ (David Morley, Home Territories, 2000)

When: Friday 19th June 2009

Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism (CRONEM), University of Surrey, Call for Papers

Jun 11 2009 - 5:44pm
Jun 12 2009 - 5:44pm

Diasporas, migration and identities’ has been the subject of a major national research programme funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) in the UK since 2005. Its central concerns have also been at the heart of the work of the Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism (CRONEM). The aim of this international conference is to examine the past and present impact of diasporas and migration on nation, community, identity and subjectivity, culture and the imagination, place and space, emotion, politics, law and values.

When: 11-12 June 2009

Workshop: Second Generation Research Dialogues. Comparative Perspectives on children of immigrants

Jan 16 2009 - 9:00am
Jan 17 2009 - 6:00pm

The Center for Metropolitan Studies Berlin presents the two-day workshop "Second Generation Research Dialogues. Comparative Perspectives on children of immigrants" / Berlin, 16|17 January 2009

Seminar of the London Migration Research Group (LMRG)

Nov 4 2008 - 5:00pm

We would like to invite you to this forthcoming seminar of the London Migration Research Group (LMRG).
Our speaker next Tuesday, 4 November at 5pm will be

Elspeth Guild (Nijmegen/LSE))


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Migration Policy Institute

Migration Policy Institute, U.S.A.


Oct 31 2008 - 12:00am
Nov 2 2008 - 11:59pm

Ohio University Inn and Conference Center
Athens, OH, Friday Oct. 31 thru. Sunday Nov. 2, 2008

The purpose of the Global Fusion Conference series is to promote academic
excellence in international-intercultural communications studies worldwide.
These conferences bring together scholars and professionals interested in
mass communication, journalism, comparative broadcasting, diplomacy,
transnational communication, advertising, new communications technologies,
media economics and privatization, cultural effects, visual communication,

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Global Gender Gap Report

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