"Behind the curtain of public space: Revealing the narratives of corporate streethawking in Globalizing Accra."

Authors: HILARY ANSAH*, University of North Texas
Topics: Development
Keywords: urban informality, Covid-19, neoliberal economy, entrepreneurial governance.
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/7/2021
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual 23
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

All street hawkers are not the same in many Newly Industrialized Countries (NICs) of the global south as often portrayed by the media and documented in extant literature. This perception has created a gap in knowledge as researchers explore street hawking activities in NICs. This study aimed to analyze a new 'informality' trend of street hawking is coming into being within the capital city of Accra, Ghana. As governance is increasingly becoming entrepreneurial, informal activities are gradually becoming formal. Formal and registered businesses are increasingly capitalizing on hawking activities to occupy public spaces. The advent of the 'informality trend,' I term as 'corporate hawking,' opens up new issues for the political economy, labor, and urban studies. By employing semi-structured interviews with corporate street hawkers and traditional street hawkers in Accra, this paper sought to investigate three broadly interrelated questions. First, how is corporate street hawking practiced and, in turn, shaped by key urban actors (city government and the media) in the specific context of Accra-Tema? Second, what does corporate street hawking mean for urban development post-COVID-19? Finally, how are urban precarious/informal workers’ identities shaped by their incorporation into this newest form of "informal" labor?

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