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Urban Dreams: Transformations of Family Life in Burkina Faso

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Urban Dreams

Transformations of Family Life in Burkina Faso

Claudia Roth
Edited by Willemijn de Jong, Manfred Perlik, Noemi Steuer, and Heinzpeter Znoj

208 pages, 1 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-376-7 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (March 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-377-4 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“Roth was not the first social scientist to look at marriage and gender relations in an urban West African setting, of course. But she laid the groundwork for further research to be conducted on marriage in Burkina Faso, and particularly on intergenerational relationships. This is what gives Roth's work particular strength and depth, and makes Urban Dreams a very readable and not-to-be-missed contribution to scholarship on social relations in West Africa.” • Africa Spectrum

“This is a very timely project and an excellent way to bring out the larger contribution of Claudia Roth to Africanist anthropology. Roth’s work is of very high quality and extremely original, especially regarding her focus on intergenerational relations, gender dynamics within the household, matters of love and marriage, and the problems of urban life with little income or job security.” • Mahir Saul, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“Claudia Roth conveys a vivid image of the often separate, complementary, and at times conflictive worlds of men and women, parents and children, and siblings. The reader gets a feeling for the effects of economic and social transformations on individuals.” • Katja Werthmann, University of Leipzig

Urban Dreams is a wonderful contribution to the understanding of contemporary social change, both in Burkina Faso and more generally.” • Yacouba Banhoro, University of Ouagadougou


Claudia Roth's work on Bobo-Dioulasso, a city of half a million residents in Burkina Faso, provides uniquely detailed insight into the evolving life-world of a West African urban population in one of the poorest countries in the world. Closely documenting the livelihood strategies of members of various neighbourhoods, Roth’s work calls into question established notions of “the African family” as a solidary network, documents changing marriage and kinship relations under the impact of a persistent economic crisis, and explores the increasingly precarious social status of young women and men.

Claudia Roth (1955–2012) taught and conducted anthropological research at the Universities of Zurich, Bern, and Lucerne. She served on the board of the Swiss Society for African Studies (SGAS/SSEA) and was a member of the International Mande Studies Association (MANSA). Urban Dreams is the first collection of her work to appear in English.

Willemijn de Jong is Professor at the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, University of Zurich.

Manfred Perlik is Professor the Universities of Bern (Centre for Development and Environment) and Grenoble-Alpes (UMR Pacte).

Noemi Steuer (1957-2020) was a researcher at the Center for African Studies, University of Basel.

Heinzpeter Znoj is Professor at the Institute for Social Anthropology, University of Bern.

Subject: Anthropology (General)SociologyUrban Studies
Area: Africa


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