Intersectional Conflicts with the City: Kampala, Uganda

Authors: Yasmine Soubra*, University of Texas - Austin
Topics: Women, Urban Geography
Keywords: Globalization, Africa, urban, shopping, feminist geography
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Globalization as a commonsense primarily focuses on macro-geopolitical and formal players of the economy, the multinationals and nation states. However, what about everyday experiences contributing to global change? Identifying those left out of the picture is central to the framework of feminist geography. In this poster, I use an intersectional approach to geographical research, examining factors surrounding gender and incorporating positions of race, class, and sexuality. To counter the normal perspective of globalization, we focus onto the roles gender and class play in women’s experiences of urban spaces. We examined findings from a participatory mapping project diagramming key shopping centers in Kampala, Uganda and integrated implications through a process called global intimate mapping. We found common themes related to how city spaces invoke conflicting feelings in Ugandan women in relation to their character, purpose, and society’s perception of them. Specifically, we found an imbalance between economic and emotional satisfaction when these women would simply migrate from "uptown to downtown” areas, either experiencing struggles with inability to afford products or battles against sexual harassment in the more underdeveloped and chaotic marketplaces. With this imbalance presented, rooted in this pre-designed urban space, women consumers are inherently unable to invest in the market economy, ultimately preventing it from growing. Our efforts in identifying these ignored feelings rethink the way geographical research can be conducted and yield broader implications for future urban planners and cartographers in incorporating the perspectives of people into their maps so a city space can be designed to benefit all.

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