Disciplining the market: The structure and function of governance in a Ugandan marketplace

William Monteith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


It is now well established that markets in Africa have many purposes beyond the economic (see e.g Bohannan & Dalton, 1962; Guyer & Hansen, 2001; Lindell, 2010). They serve important functions as networks of communication, hubs of social interaction, and valuable political arenas in which control is sought over both people and goods. However, the precise character and organisation of these various functions is dependent on the structures of governance in place in individual markets. These structures comprise both formal rules and regulations and informal institutional practices.

This paper explores the structure and function of governance in Nakasero Market in Kampala, Uganda, through an examination of the role of the market disciplinary committee. It draws upon thirty months of archival records detailing all of the cases heard by the committee during its lifetime (2009-2012) to present an analysis of the different rules, procedures and actors involved in upholding discipline in the market. This analysis is revealing insofar as it informs us about a) typical disputes and transgressions in the market and the types of people involved, b) processes and sanctions used to resolve these issues and prevent their reoccurrence, and c) the notion of order promoted in the market and the social norms on which this rests.2
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventAfrican Studies Association of the UK Biennial Conference - , United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Sep 2014 → …


ConferenceAfrican Studies Association of the UK Biennial Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period10/09/14 → …

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