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Ambiguous Resource: “Informal” Street Trading in Kisumu, Kenya

Abstract : This paper is about the contested use of urban space, focusing on the appropriation of informal trading spaces by street traders in Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city. The objective is to understand the access to and control of the trading streets around Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground. These trading places are understood as a resource. I argue that legal and political contradictions create an ambiguous institutional environment. These ambiguities contribute to the development of conflicts in the use of these trading places and give advantages to actors with a key position, particularly the brokers acting as an interface between street traders and authorities. The empirical material for this study comes from surveys carried out in Kisumu between April and December 2016. 26 semi-structured interviews, three life story interviews and two focus group interviews were carried out, mainly with street traders. The first part of this paper develops the theoretical approach and the ambiguity of the street trading institutional environment. The second part deals with the daily struggle for trading places and then it focuses on projects by local authorities about street trade management. These projects increase the process of fragmentation of street traders’ associations.
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Sylvain Racaud. Ambiguous Resource: “Informal” Street Trading in Kisumu, Kenya. Articulo - Journal of Urban Research, Articulo - Revue de sciences humaines asbl, 2017, ⟨10.4000/articulo.3702⟩. ⟨hal-02321806⟩



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