George Mason University
George Mason University Mason
George Mason University

Mobile Bodies of Meaning: City Life and the Horizons of Possibility

by Daniel Agbiboa

Publication Details MORE LESS

  • Pages: 22
  • Publication Preview: PDF
  • Published Date: Aug 11 2017
  • Volume/Issue: 55/3
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication: Journal of Modern African Studies 


Despite their centrality to the rhythm and practice of everyday urban life, there are, surprisingly, few studies on commercial minibus-taxis as a microcosm of city life in Africa, especially its precarious materiality. Using the trademark yellow minibus-taxis (danfos) in Lagos as a frame of reference, this paper explores what an interpretative analysis of the slogans that danfo workers paint on their vehicles can tell us about the city in which they weave their routine existence, especially the hopes, fears and actual material circumstances which informed their unique choice of slogans. Foregrounding the danfos as mobile bodies of meaning, the article finds that slogans not only reflect the lived realities of danfo workers, but are themselves vital means through which these workers get by, define their identity and expand their horizons of possibility.