Sexual Markets or Black Markets? Gendered Technologies of Extraction and Redistribution among Young Men and Women in an African City

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Abstract

This article addresses the everyday technologies of ‘extraction and redistribution’ that young women and men use in order to adapt to a situation of increasing unemployment in Maputo, Mozambique and other African cities. In this neoliberal economy informal and illicit trade with sex, stolen goods and counterfeit products are on the rise and the article shows how technologies of survival are highly gendered and reconfigure masculinities and femininities. In this article I argue that technologies of survival in urban Africa are based on logics of extraction–of money, goods and other valuables from the well off - as an alternative to wage labor, salaries and more respected sources of income and redistribution of incomes to kin and social networks. Technologies of extraction are highly gendered and a division of “informal labor” exists in this shadow economy where many young women enter into transactional sex with sugar-daddies, called sponsors or patrons, who provide for them in exchange for sex while male peers often become street vendors, street artists or petty criminals engaged in the so-called ‘black’ markets of theft, sale of counterfeits, and circulation of stolen goods, alcohol and drugs. As I show, these gendered markets are highly entangled and interdependent, and as I argue, male and female markets use many of the same technologies, sources and circuits of exchange
Original languageEnglish
JournalCultural and religious studies
Volume2
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)318-330
Number of pages12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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