Token salaries and social answers in work relations in Africa

  • M. Repetti (1999). Sociological Research Online, XIX-XX
  • Abstract: In Dakar, faced with crisis and uncertainty, social answers begin to appear. Only those having a supportive social network could find a place in the labour's market. The observation of the daily routine of any of Dakars micro-businesses and its social aspects, reveals the wide area of interference that exists between waged worker and the relation networks with family and relatives, ethnic groups and Muslim brotherhoods. The urban economy is supported by a network of family, alliance, and client relations. The overlap existing between waged and unwaged work can be understood only by looking closely at the network of social ties present outside the production site. Switching from the analysis of urban work relationships in Africa to the analysis of social networks is almost spontaneous, because a system of relational actions and strategies grows around the figure of the worker. The importance of the "strength of weak ties" in procuring employment is as a whole confirmed, but African sociability creates an intense inter-network relational interchange. Dakars urban space feeds a "popular economy" where social networks and the gift-giving logic co-exist with market economy. This economy utilise different wage embryos or tokens salaries for each of the social players.
  • Theme: Formal/Informal, Networks/Collaboration, Urban
  • Keywords: Informal economy, Senegal, Social networks, Urban work, Weak ties, Work relations
  • Reference type: Journal Article
  • Geographic location: Senegal, Africa, Global South
  • Quality:
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