Trajectories of three women’s groups in urbanizing Senegal
Observing social capital and livelihoods in Rufisque
The monograph at hand looks at Senegalese women’s groups through the concept of social capital and asks whether the groups can be considered as sources of social capital to their members, and in what ways the groups contribute to the support of their members’ livelihoods. Tracing the functions of traditional women’s groups in different phases of Senegalese societal change, and describing their significance in contemporary urban neighborhoods, the study underlines their crucial importance for their members as well as for society as a whole. With a mapping of all associational life done in the town of Rufisque in 1993-94 as baseline, the ethnographic study follows the trajectories of three different women’s groups until spring 2008. The time span of 15 years enables an overview of how the groups adapt to changes, and underscores the social institutional structures determining the sustainability of social capital.