We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Gina Porter

Porter, G., Lyon, F., Adamu, F. & Obafemi, L. (2010). Conflict and cooperation in market spaces: learning from the operation of local networks of civic engagement in African market trade. Human Organization 69(1): 31-42.

Author(s) from Durham


This paper is concerned with conflict and the operation of local networks of civic engagement in the Nigerian market place. African markets are commonly significant meeting points—associational sites - for diverse ethnic and social groups: the economic and social exchange which takes place there in the ‘everyday’ is the epitome of social engagement and cooperation. But at times of tension the market place is a frequent flashpoint where conflict becomes tangible and conflagration a regular outcome. We examine the role of a range of internal and external institutions and actors in market and trader dispute regulation. Our case study analysis shows the remarkable role which is regularly played by local actors and networks of civic engagement within and in the vicinity of the Nigerian market space to diffuse tension and, where disputes emerge, to reinstate order. These components are a reflection of the value placed on traditional market trading spaces in Nigerian society: they remain essential to the livelihood and wellbeing of millions of people, rich and poor.