ZHGK – Lecture Catherine Dolan ||| Time and the Enchantments of the Not Yet: Making Entrepreneurs at the Bottom of the Pyramid

Dienstag, 28. März 2017, 16:00 Uhr bis 17:00 Uhr

The quest for ‘inclusive markets’ that incorporate Africa’s youth has become a key focus of national and international development efforts, with so-called bottom of the pyramid BoP) initiatives increasingly seen as a way to draw the Continent’s poor into new networks of global capitalism. SSA has become a fertile frontier for such systems, as capital sets its sights on the continents’ vast ‘under-served’ informal economies, harnessing the entrepreneurial mettle of youth to create new markets for a range of products, from solar lanterns and shampoo to cook stoves and sanitary pads. Drawing on research with youth entrepreneurs in Kenya, this paper traces the processes of individual and collective `transformation’ that the mission of (self-) empowerment through entrepreneurship seeks to bring about. In articular, it explores how temporalities –– the practices, technologies and representations of time ––figure in a BoP enterprise offering entrepreneurial opportunities to unemployed youth in Nairobi’s slums: from the invocation of clock-time discipline, to the professional time of entrepreneurial subjectivities, to the enchantments of the not-yet; the mastery of time drawing boundaries between the perceived inertia of the present and the vitality of the future. By examining how these temporal dimensions play out in BoP attempts to fashion a cadre of self-willed, aspiring entrepreneurs, we show that while inclusive markets are meant to bring those below the poverty line above it, the ‘line’ can be reified and reinforced through the everyday practices and technologies of time.

MitCatherine Dolan, Reader in Anthropology, SOAS, University of London. Catherine Dolan is a Reader in Anthropology at SOAS, University of London and holds fellowships at James Martin Institute, Green Templeton College and Said Business School, all at University of Oxford. Her research centres on contemporary forms of moral capitalism, including Fairtrade, inclusive development and bottom of the pyramid business, in Africa. She is a co-founder of the Centre for New Economies of Development (www.responsiblebop.com)
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