Crafting a Better Future in Liberia

Hustling and Associational Life in Post-War Monrovia

  • Andrea Kaufmann Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel
Keywords: associational life, urban, post-war, social imagination, Monrovia, Liberia


Despite post-war reconstruction, Monrovia is an insecure, uncertain city. Many people are «hustling», an emic term for insecure income-generating activities. «Hustlers» are often part of associations. Associations strengthen identities, and form social relationships and solidarities. They fi ll the gap of war-aff ected social relationships, and contribute to social security, solidarity and integrate the marginalized. This article shows how social imaginaries serve as motor of change, and how associational life shapes social spaces as islands of certainty amidst uncertainty.

Author Biography

Andrea Kaufmann, Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel

Andrea Kaufmann obtained her PhD from the University of Basel, Switzerland. She is affiliated to the Research Group on Political Transformations at the Institute of Social Anthropology, University of Basel. Andrea Kaufmann is interested in how local or national associations and their socially shared imaginaries of a better life serve as motors of change on social, political or cultural context of a war-affected setting. Her main interests are in the fields of conflict and peace studies, urban studies, associational life, gender and social relations in general in post-war societies in the West African conflict region, in particular Liberia.

How to Cite
Kaufmann, Andrea. 2017. “Crafting a Better Future in Liberia: Hustling and Associational Life in Post-War Monrovia”. TSANTSA – Journal of the Swiss Anthropological Association 22 (May):37-46.
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