Transforming social exclusion to benefit in the slum areas of the Global South through neighbourhood identity: lessons from Ajegunle slum in Lagos, Nigeria
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Contemporary urban areas are continually being fragmented based on socio-economic and cultural differences and large proportions of the populations in the cities of the Global South are, consequently, excluded from access to basic infrastructure and general socio-economic opportunities. David Harvey accentuates this contemporary trend in urbanisation, positing that it aggravates the proliferation of slums. Despite vast research on the social and environmental challenges of slum pro- liferation and their consequences, little is known about the potential positive value of the communal identity and solidarity in these slums. Ajegunle, Africa’s largest slum neighbourhood and the sixth largest in the world, was adopted as a case study for this research. Karl Marx’ theory of social conflict and a novel variant of Albert Hirschman’s concept of ‘exit, voice, and loyalty’ constituted the theoretical framework for the research. The research methodology comprised both quantitative and qualita- tive methods. Primary data were gathered thorough questionnaires, interviews and personal observa- tion, while secondary information was sought from relevant printed and online sources. The paper argues that social exclusion can stir up neighbourhood identity among the marginalised and ‘voice- less’ poor slum dwellers to create unusual benefi t that mitigate socio-economic disadvantages. The results further support Karl Marx’ postulation that individuals and groups in the society ‘struggle’ to Transforming social exclusion to benefit in the slum areas maximise their respective benefits, while also validating the novel concept of ‘exit, voicelessness, and loyalty’, which avers that ‘obligatory loyalty’ in slum communities engenders neighbourhood identity for self-preservation and communal development. The paper, therefore, recommended that govern-ments should pursue policies of mutual respect with regard to slum communities, in order to harness the potentials of those communities, as a strategy for socio-economic development.
Ifesanya, O. Nwokoro, I.I.C. (2012). Transforming social exclusion to benefit in the slum areas of the Global South through neighbourhood identity: lessons from Ajegunle slum in Lagos, Nigeria. socialspacejournal.eu, 2/2(4), 45-67.