Improvised LivesRhythms of Endurance in an Urban South
Improvised Lives
Rhythms of Endurance in an Urban South

The poor and working people in cities of the South find themselves in urban spaces that are conventionally construed as places to reside or inhabit. But what if we thought of popular districts in more expansive ways that capture what really goes on within them? In such cities, popular districts are the settings of more uncertain operations that take place under the cover of darkness, generating uncanny alliances among disparate bodies, materials and things and expanding the urban sensorium and its capacities for liveliness.

In this important new book AbdouMaliq Simone explores the nature of these alliances, portraying urban districts as sites of enduring transformations through rhythms that mediate between the needs of residents not to draw too much attention to themselves and their aspirations to become a small niche of exception. Here we discover an urban South that exists as dense rhythms of endurance that turn out to be vital for survival, connectivity, and becoming.

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  • December 2018
  • 120 pages
  • 145 x 219 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $59.95
  • 9781509523351
  • Paperback $19.95
  • 9781509523368
  • Open eBook $15.99
  • 9781509523399
Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vi

1 The Uninhabitable 1

2 Ensemble Work 34

3 The Mechanics of Improvised Relations 59

4 Inscribing Sociality in the Dark: The Pragmatics of a Legible Home 89

5 The Politics of Peripheral Care 122

References 138

Index 147

About the Author
AbdouMaliq Simone is Professor at the Max Plank Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity.
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“Here, urban worlds – metal scrap, unhinged concrete, electrical waste, slowdowns, and interruptions – emerge with and through secretive human connections. AbdouMaliq Simone narrates the urban as an aesthetics of promise, where the uninhabitable generates districts of improvising communities, collectively living-with, and unsettling, infrastructures of harm.”
Katherine McKittrick, Queen's University, Ontario, Canada

‘A brilliant and innovative account of urban life, seen both as confined to place and at the same time enduring and generative, composed through the weaving together of different experiments, connections, gatherings and imaginaries. As ever in his work, Simone provides us with a unique perspective on the city, and a distinctive way of seeing urbanism and speculating on its social, economic and political potentials.’
Colin McFarlane, Durham University

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