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Social Norms, Agency and Associations on The Urban Fringe of Bamako

Elise Klein


This paper focuses on social norms and structures that effect the formation and agency of associations in a neighborhood on the urban fringe of Bamako. The general aim of these associations is to improve well-being for their members, the community at large or both. Whilst this is a noble pursuit this goal is not always realized. Social norms and structures underpinning the social fabric of the neighborhood and beyond, influence not just the day to day running of associations, but also the formation of these associations and the outcomes of their agency. This paper discusses the social norms and structures that are specific to the formation of associations, the politics within them, and their collective capacity that include conflicting worldviews, economic stratification and kinship relations. Analysis of the norms and structures underpinning the deeper social fabric of contemporary Mali is increasingly becoming essential as the current political instability within Bamako continues to escalate.


Associations; Agency; Tontine, Brokers of Development; Bamako

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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