Working Paper 172

Place and Space on Ngazidja and among Comorians in Zanzibar


Iain Walker

Max Planck Fellow Group Connectivity in Motion

Jahr der Veröffentlichung


Working Paper 172

Since the spatial turn in anthropology, space has been much theorised but its counterpart, place, less so. In this paper I look at spatial practices on the Comorian island of Ngazidja and among Comorians in Zanzibar through the lens of Lefebvre’s tripartite dialectic of spatial practice, representations of space, and spaces of representation, suggesting the latter are in fact places. Spatiality is fundamental to social organisation in Ngazidja, framing practices in a ritual context as well as in daily life. The quotidian and the ritual both produce and are produced by places within the town, places which are constantly being reworked in a dynamic relationship with spatial practice and representations of space. These representations of space are carried into diaspora in Zanzibar where they continue to frame spatial practice and provide for the maintenance of links with places in Ngazidja.

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