The International African Library: Coastal Sierra Leone: Materiality and the Unseen in Maritime West Africa Series Number 55

The International African Library: Coastal Sierra Leone: Materiality and the Unseen in Maritime West Africa Series Number 55

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Against the backdrop of a threadbare post-war state and a global marine ecology in treacherous decline, Jennifer Diggins offers a dynamic account of post-war Sierra Leone, through the examination of a precarious frontier economy and those who depend on it. The book traces how understandings of intimacy, interdependence, and exploitation have been shaped through a history of indentured labour, violence, and gendered migration; and how these relationships are being renegotiated once more in a context of deepening economic uncertainty. At its core, this is about the material substance of human relationships. One can go a long way towards mapping the town's shifting networks of friendship, love, and obligation simply by watching the vast daily traffic in gifts of fish exchanging hands on the wharf. However, these mundane social and economic strategies are often inflected through a cultural dynamic of 'secrecy', and a shared sense of the unseen forces understood to inhabit the material world.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 248 pages
  • 157 x 235 x 16mm | 530g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Worked examples or Exercises; 00 Printed music items; 00 Tables, unspecified; 00 Tables, color; 00 Tables, black and white; 00 Plates, unspecified; 00 Plates, color; 00 Plates, black and white; 1 Maps; 00 Halftones, unspecified; 00 Halftones, color; 00 Halftones, black and white; 00 Line drawings, color; 11 Line drawings, black and white
  • 1108471161
  • 9781108471169

Table of contents

List of illustrations; A note on translations; Acknowledgements; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction; 2. Context, history, methods; 3. Economic runaways; 4. Plantain island sirens; 5. Potato rope families; 6. Occult economies and hidden topographies; 7. Material words; 8. Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.
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About Jennifer Diggins

Jennifer Diggins is a Senior Lecturer in Social and Cultural Anthropology at Oxford Brookes University. Her ethnographic research focuses on fishing communities in coastal Sierra Leone, exploring how intimate social relationships have been shaped through histories of migration and economic change, and asks how fishermen and women struggle to navigate precarious livelihoods through contexts of extreme poverty, insecurity, and environmental decline.
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