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Limits to Communities of Practice in an Open Air Market - The Case of the Alaba-Suru Market, Lagos, Nigeria

Ikioda, Faith (2012) Limits to Communities of Practice in an Open Air Market - The Case of the Alaba-Suru Market, Lagos, Nigeria. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

Abstract Since its introduction into the literature over ten years ago, the concept of the community of practice has been prolifically employed in a range of dierent disciplines. A community of practice is regarded as denoting a set of relations through which a group of actors mutually learn and share knowledge in order to produce innovative outcomes in a particular activity. Many authors who have adopted the term have however primarily restricted evidence of such communities to very formally organised contexts that are characterised by relatively homogenous and collaborative events. This thesis therefore examines the activities among market traders in an open-air market and seeks to understand whether evidence of a community of practice can be found in settings that are characterised by actors involved in self-employment and competitive contexts as opposed to the previous contexts that have shaped evidence of the community of practice. From a qualitative ethnographic study of the Alaba-Suru market in Lagos, the thesis proposes a multiscalar representation of the practice of market traders that considers practices of traders as being much more than certain shared and communal ties that permit market trade to be conducted in the midst of intense competition. The thesis uncovers how competing everyday activities of buying and selling displayed by individual traders, their organisation and interactions with other traders, customers and suppliers are further linked with wider systems of regulations operating through cultural, economic and other political linkages which are continually being reordered, contested and renegotiated in ways that defy easy categorisation into a community of practice. The thesis acknowledges that concepts such as the community of practice are potentially useful for understanding how a heterogeneous set of market traders, in competition, are able to accommodate one another in conflictual cooperation. It however is made apparent in the thesis that the scales at which practice is occurring in and through traders in a market, require a flexible and more open relational approach to conceiving the community of practice. The thesis concludes from a geographical perspective that the continued application of the community of practice must accommodate and incorporate the changing structure of events in space and time.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Geography (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Unnamed user with email osiikioda@gmail.com
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2012 15:43
Last Modified: 08 Aug 2013 08:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/2376

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