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Marketcraft: Intentional commercial platforms & securing profit in the Nigerian megacity

Vivian Chenxue Lu
Date and Time: 
Monday, April 24, 2017 - 12:30

Department of Anthropology
Main Quad - Building 50
Room 51A (Colloquium Room)


Talk of both militant ethnic secessionism and utopian pan-ethnic nationalism regularly courses through wholesale markets in Nigeria; markets are sites of spectacular displays of authority, from government political rallies and demolitions to vigilante militant and secessionist protests. While Nigeria has weathered politically through colonization, decolonization, a civil war, four republics, and eight military coups, various market associations and civil society entities have been continual and forceful organizational actors in delineating the terms of public order and exchange. This paper traces the notable case study of the Trade Fair Complex in western Lagos, where market association leaders coordinated a massive self-organized relocation as a deliberate process of building a new kind of strategic platform for securing profit for ‘non-indigenes’ of the Lagos area, enforced by paramilitary task forces that secure market premises. Drawing from ethnographic fieldwork in Lagos, this paper argues that public discourses around trader national and non/indigenous identity explicitly construe commercial profit as a moral and political space to be claimed, and that commercial platforms must be designed, and policed, accordingly.


Vivian is a dissertation writer PhD Candidate in the Anthropology department.