Surviving with Dignity

Surviving with Dignity : Hausa Communities of Niamey, Niger

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Surviving with Dignity focuses on the lived experience of two generations of migrant Hausa men in Niamey, Niger's capital city, set in a larger social matrix of national and global transformations. Their extraordinary ability to maintain their dignity despite their daily struggles to eke out a living in the face of structural violence and unrelenting hardship reveals a tremendously powerful will and capacity to keep going.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 252 pages
  • 154.94 x 228.6 x 25.4mm | 544.31g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739173502
  • 9780739173503

Review quote

Youngstedt describes the urban realities of first- and second-generation Hausa migrants in Niamey, Niger. Basing his work on over 20 years of ethnographic research, Youngstedt uses participant-observation, structured interviews, case studies, key informants, and the Internet to gather data about Hausa men in Niger, northern Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, New York City, and Michigan. He shows Niamey as a city that has grown in population and ethnic diversity over the past 20 years while suffering economic decline. Its youth population is strongly influenced by modern technologies: radios, cell phones, video culture, the Internet. Youngstedt focuses on men's informal and formal conversation groups as mechanisms for handling the injustices ensuing from colonialism, state mismanagement, structural adjustment, global neoliberalism, and the overwhelming poverty of the capital city. These groups offer adaptive strategies for surviving with dignity and successfully connecting with the modern world. By means of case studies of people he has known for a long time, the author offers important insight into the life of Niamey men. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. CHOICE Youngstedt's clear and compelling narratives demonstrate how the everyday confrontation with urban poverty can result in an admirable social resilience. Youngstedt also illustrates how the power of ethnography can be used to represent a complex social reality that defies systematic reduction. This book is a model of and for contemporary ethnography, African studies, and urban anthropology. As in all good books, when you reach the final pages of Surviving with Dignity , you will be sad that your reading experience has come to an end. African Studies Review Surviving with Dignity is Scott Youngstedt's deeply humanistic and moving portrait of the trials and tribulations of Hausa men in Niamey, the capital city of the world's poorest country. Youngstedt's book is based upon a more than 20 year period of fieldwork in Niger. Given this enviable record of field research, the text is nuanced and sensitive. Accordingly, it describes without sentimentality the challenges of daily life in a space of deep and intractable poverty. But Youngstedt does not reduce poverty-or dignity-to a statistical profile or a discourse of disembodied analysis. Instead, he skilfully tells a wide range of stories that evoke the myriad existential challenges that his Niamey friends have confronted and struggled to overcome-with a measure of dignity. This ethnographic portrait of contemporary urban life in West Africa is a necessarily complex one. Guided by Youngstedt's clear and compelling narratives, the complex themes of urban poverty and social resilience weave together into a seamless whole. Surviving with Dignity clearly demonstrates the power of ethnography to represent a complex social reality that defies systematic reduction. This book is a model of and for contemporary ethnography, African studies and urban anthropology. -- Paul Stoller, Professor of Anthropology, West Chester University Scott Youngstedt's aptly named Surviving with Dignity explores the gendered and generational quality of modernity in Niamey by drawing upon the reflections of men in a variety of homosocial conversation groups. For Hausa immigrants in Niger's capital Niamey who are caught in a kind of continuous liminality between rural and urban conversation groups provide a space for adapting to and interpreting a world in movement. Communications revolutions from the opening up of print and radio media to the explosion of use of cell phones have contributed to the dynamism of life in contemporary Niger without supplanting the value placed upon good conversation. With humanity and gentle humor Youngstedt renders in vivid terms the predicaments of men in a perilous economy who nevertheless find social and cultural resources to constantly regenerate a world worth preserving. -- Barbara Cooper, Rutgers Universityshow more

About Scott M. Youngstedt

Scott M. Youngstedt earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology at UCLA in 1993, and is currently Professor of Anthropology at Saginaw Valley State University. His ethnographic research in Niger over the past 24 years is primarily concerned with exploring the ways by which migrant Hausa construct communities in diaspora, create modernities, and negotiate personal identities in the context of neoliberal globalization. His work has been published in Africa Insight, African Studies Quarterly, African Studies Review, and City and Society, among other places. Youngstedt currently serves as Vice President of the West African Research Association and is in line to become its President in November 2012.show more

Table of contents

Chapter 1: Introduction - Making Sense of the World Chapter 2: Niamey Yesterday and Today Chapter 3: Niamey and the Global Hausa Diaspora Chapter 4: Striving for Survival and Meaning in Hausa Communities of Niamey Chapter 5: Multiple Articulations of Modernity Chapter 6: Growing Up Male in Niamey Conclusion: Uncertain Futuresshow more

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