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Under the wire: splintered time and ongoing temporariness in Accra’s electropolis

Dawson, Katherine (2021) Under the wire: splintered time and ongoing temporariness in Accra’s electropolis. City, 25 (1-2). 27 - 45. ISSN 1360-4813

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13604813.2021.1885903


This paper discusses the occupation of an electricity transmission line right-of-way (ROW) at a busy interchange to the western edge of Accra, Ghana. In planning documents, ROWs are depicted as open spaces and obtaining permits to develop the land is prohibited. However, across the city, people continue to live and work under the wire, describing their occupancy as one of ongoing temporariness. Drawing from fourteen months of ethnographic research in Accra, I unpack the production of this urban temporality and argue that this ongoing temporariness is not linear, but should rather be understood as a condition punctured by events which both threaten and re-establish temporary occupation. I contend that it is only by attending closely to a splintered temporality, that we may grapple with the ways in which ongoing temporariness takes hold in cities marked by uneven access to land, income and capital.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2021 The Author
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2021 16:57
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 19:39

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