Navigating the City Center: Young Street Hawkers in Algiers

Britta Elena Hecking

Abstract


This paper explores the significance of navigating practices in the everyday life of young street hawkers in the peripheral urban areas of Algiers. The French expression naviguer ("navigating") is used by young people in colloquial Arabic to describe practices of getting by and being on the move in outdoor urban spaces. By navigating the central spaces of the Algerian capital, young people resist social and spatial exclusion. Based on the results of research conducted at Martyrs Square between 2009 and 2012, this paper aims to scrutinize the "politics of navigating" and argues that navigating practices both preserve and challenge the status quo.


Keywords


Algiers; Youth; Urban Peripheries; Informality; Street Politics

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17192/meta.2015.5.3523

Britta Elena Hecking studied Romance and Islamic Studies at Humboldt University Berlin. From 2009- 2012 she studied in the PhD program “Critical Junctures of Globalization” (University of Leipzig). She wrote her dissertation on “Youth and Resistance” in Algiers, which she defended in July 2014. Currently she works as a freelance researcher for a think tank. Her research interests include youth and city planning with a focus on North African/ Mediterranean cities.