|Title:||West African spatial patterns of economic activities: combining the ‘spatial factor’ and ‘mobile space’ approaches|
Walther, Olivier J.
Howard, Allen M.
|Periodical:||African Studies (ISSN 1469-2872)|
|Abstract:||Over the last 30 years, two different bodies of literature developed by both US historians and francophone geographers have moved toward similar conclusions regarding West African economic spatial patterns. Despite their different backgrounds, both the ‘spatial factor’ approach promoted by historians and the ‘mobile space’ approach developed by geographers view exchange centres as nodes of transnational trade networks and places in production territories, and perceive spatial dynamics as highly dependent on shifts of trade flows and production activities. The objective of this article is to bring these two approaches together. The authors analyse the linguistic, disciplinary and geographic barriers that have separated them, and explain why and how these obstacles are being overcome. They then turn to what the two approaches have in common, notably their emphasis on actors in space, particularly traders, and where their differences lie. Finally, they show how a combined approach can make a significant contribution to the scholarly study of space in West Africa. The authors argue that continuing dialogue among fields can contribute to a reassessment of development policies. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]|
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