05.05.2017 to 06.05.2017

Workshop: Secondary Cities - The Urban Middle Ground

Workshop, organised by junior scholars, with the aim at creating a network of scholar working in and on secondary cities in Africa and beyond.

Most studies on urbanity in Africa focus on mega-cities, whereas secondary cities, the unspectacular middle ground between metropolises and small towns, have largely been neglected. However, as the World City Report by the UN of 2016 demonstrates, more and more people live in secondary cities which act as nodal points between the rural and the urban. Further, due to decentralization processes, their political and financial independence gradually increase in different parts of the world. One characteristic of secondary cities is their hierarchical and (most of the time also) geographical distance to the heart of the State, the highest administrative level. Therefore, they often breed forms of governance that result in specific modes of state-society interactions that differ from capital cities. Inhabitants of secondary cities constantly compare their place of residence with the country’s metropolis, but also with other larger and smaller regional cities. Urbanites incorporate and rearrange modes of living from both, the rural and the urban area.

In this two-day workshop, organised by junior scholars, we aim at creating a network of scholars from various disciplinary backgrounds working in and on secondary cities in Africa and beyond. Our goal is to conceptually rethink secondary cities by addressing four sub-themes:

  1. heterogeneity and conflict,
  2. the image of the city,
  3. the rural-urban nexus,
  4. and governance.

We especially invite junior researchers to participate in the workshop

Further information: Flyer (pdf)

Venue: Institute of Social Anthropology, Münsterplatz 19, 4051 Basel


University of Basel
Centre for African Studies
Rheinsprung 21
CH-4051 Basel
Tel.: +41 (0)61 207 34 82