Conviviality as Diasporic Knowledge

In: African Diaspora
Tilmann Heil University of Leuven

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Based on my time with im/mobile West Africans in Senegal and Spain since 2007, I propose conviviality to conceptualise the complexity of my interlocutors’ local and diasporic tactics and views of living with difference. Simple everyday encounters such as greeting and dwelling in urban spaces serve to disentangle their various levels of reflection, habitual expectations and tactical action. They had local to global reference frameworks at their disposal. Not pretending to represent their knowledge, I discuss the inspirations I received from trying to understand what they shared with me non/verbally regarding living with difference. To start from this decentred set of premises challenges established Western/Northern politics of living with difference. Through conviviality, I show a distinct way of engaging multiple and overlapping ways of differentiating and homogenising practices and raise awareness for the importance and feasibility of minimal socialities in diasporic configurations, transnational migrations and the respective local urban contexts.

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