Some notes on other economies via AbdouMaliq Simone

by helenefrichot

AbdouMaliq Simone, ‘Deals with Imaginaries and Perspectives: Reworking Urban Economics in Kinshasa’, 2013.

“a propulsion of bodies…an economy of transactions, of continuously realigned affiliations and exchanges”(238)

“too often notions of ‘dynamic’, the ‘efficacious’, the ‘sustainable’ and the ‘just’ are intertwined in mutually supportive roles without a clear sense of what is taking place.” (239)

How can economic life be constituted by manoeuvres of affective speculation? (239)

This concerns the anticipation of desires, or what can be called atmospheres of affect, how environments come to be produced in advance of your arrival as what Simone calls a “field of affective textures”…but there is also the opportunity to create other vantage points, and “prospective futures”, Simone appears to suggest.

Consider the diversity of aesthetic economic persona the ‘traders’ take on in the marketplace of Gambela that Simone describes. These are subjectivities in process, produced partially in relation to acts of trading. Economic processes of subjectification. At the end of the day it is important to undertake ‘impression management’ that is, to exude the appearance of success to make sure more trades will follow tomorrow (242). Further, urban bodies must be understood as being entangled in all manner of material relations, entwined as they are with “scrap, fuel, rain, heat, waste, sweat, tin, fire, fumes, noise, voices, and odour” (243).

Goods, often irrespective of, but as often connected with their significance, must be kept in movement, to maximise a person’s exposure to a greater playing field, keep the goods in motion, keep the game of trading going (its a matter of life and death). A central question of ‘livelihood’ (see 243-244).

Finally, he states “we know that we live in a  fiscal world based on the tremendous expansion of capital disarticulated from any fundamental underlying asset” (250). How can we make this place other than it is? How can we reach each other across seemingly incommensurable divides and differences?