Opponent: Universitetslektor Amin Kamete, School of Social & Political Sciences, University of Glasgow.

Huvudhandledare: Docent Ilda Lourenco Lindell, Kulturgeografiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet. Handledare: Universitetslektor Andrew Byerley, Kulturgeografiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet.

Ordförande vid disputationen: Docent Danielle Drozdzewski, Kulturgeografiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet.

Betygsnämndens ledamöter: Professor Kanchana Ruwanpura, Institutionen för ekonomi och samhälle, Göteborgs universitet, professor Agnes Andersson Djurfeldt, Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi, Lunds universitet, docent Thaïs Machado Borges, Romanska och klassiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet. Suppleant: Docent Lowe Börjeson Kulturgeografiska institutionen, Stockholms universitet.

Abstract: This thesis studies the governing of street and market vending in the Zambian city of Kitwe. Street and market vending has often been studied in relation to neoliberal urban developments. Such studies have shown how governing practices are driven by ambitions to create “world-class cities” and to attract (international) investment. This study aims to deepen the current understanding of governing street and market vending by studying (i) how multiple rationalities within government shape diverse governing practices over time, (ii) how entanglements between vendors associations and government influence the governing of street and market vending, and (iii) how vendors’ agency stretches across national and international space. The study makes use of a qualitative research methodology consisting primarily of interviews with street and market vendors, their associations’ representatives, and government. The interview material has been supplemented by observations and (online) documents, such as reports in the media.

Paper I studies the governing of street vending between 2013 and 2018 in the city of Kitwe. The paper illustrates that the multiple rationalities of the national and local governments and entanglements with vendors and their associations have influenced governing practices. They have contributed to changes in governing modes over time and a variety of compromises. 

Paper II investigates how government’s selective enforcement of regulations has positioned market vendors and their associations in “gray spaces” between legality and illegality. Results highlight how these developments have strengthened the bonds between some associations and the ruling political party, and have sidelined other associations from market spaces. Possibilities of a more autonomous organizing of market vendors is thereby jeopardized.

Paper III examines the agency of vendors by exploring how they have used associational activities as platforms to establish relationships with other vendors located in other localities. Through the use of mobile phones, these connections have become part of vendors’ everyday lives. Governing practices are also impacted by these connections as vendors’ discussions include propositions pertaining to their access to central city spaces.

Taken together, the papers uncover how the governing of street and market vending is influenced by divisions within government and by complex relationships between vendors and the government. The papers also illustrate the agency of vendors and their associations, particularly the practices through which they seek to influence how they are governed and shape solidarities that stretch across space.

Nyckelord: urban informality, informal economy, street vendors, market vendors, vendors’ agency, urban space, collective organizing, vendors’ connections, gray spaces, government rationality, assemblage, Kitwe, Zambia, sub-Saharan Africa.