Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationYale U.
Grant numberGr. 9712
Approve DateOctober 5, 2018
Project TitleNing, Rundong, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid research on 'Becoming Entrepreneurs: The Rise of Entrepreneurship and National Economy in Congo-Brazzaville,' supervised by Dr. Helen Siu
Preliminary abstract: In the recent couple of decades, Congolese government has been trying to diversify its economy to make its economy less sensitive to the fluctuation of oil price. The promotion of entrepreneurship is an essential part of this economic plan. This project looks at the rise of entrepreneurship in contemporary Congo-Brazzaville and tries to understand how the identity of entrepreneur is produced by the state’s plan of economic diversification. It also hopes to reveal how the national economy of Congo is imagined, felt, and participated by these entrepreneurs. In addition, it examines what social connections are engendered or revived by becoming entrepreneur and what kinds of distribution of resources are made possible by these social connections. This project plans a twelve-month ethnographic fieldwork in Brazzaville with a focus on two entrepreneurial centers. Mainly using interviews and observation, this project hopes to contribute to the debate on subjectivity in neoliberalism by showing how it is formed by both a certain set of values and particular practices with the state and other structural factors. It also hopes to contribute to the anthropology of state by showing how the state is imagined as an economy carrying affective power but at the same time a concrete sphere of practice in which people can and want to participate. Finally, because of the power of entrepreneurship in bring about new social connections, it hopes to explore the possibility of using entrepreneurship to address some of the economic challenges facing contemporary Africa, including the breakdown of distributive networks and urban joblessness.