The Communal-Individual, The Story of Small-Scale Entrepreneurs in Small-Town Uganda.
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This thesis is an account for a dialectic world view captured in the story of the motion of a small town in Africa. It takes the reader along the sites of ‘awkward engagement’ and the daily navigation of entrepreneurs in economic activities. It disproves the reality of universalistic explanations of economy and positions the construction of solidarity at the heart of entrepreneurial daily life. The active navigation of the entrepreneurs between the accumulation of financial and social capital (money and trust relations) illustrates the hybridity of presupposed incompatible economic systems. By taking the reader to various commercial sites of Kyotera, the diversity and complexity of the town becomes visible. At that cross-road the interaction and subsequent integration of distinct values in daily life of urban dwellers is found. However, this integration does not come without a shrug. To cope with the emerging frictions, entrepreneurs strategically navigate and balance their hybrid daily life. In that way they succeed in the fusion of assumed opposites: the investment in the strong social ties with the home-community and the desire for individual independency and entrepreneurial success. From a neoliberal perspective the investment in communal membership seems irrational. However, economic action is not explicable without the social aspects of life. The home-community in the village fulfils a crucial aspect in the construction of solidarity upon which the entrepreneurs in the complex society of a town can rely. Through the investment of time and money, entrepreneurs invest in their position within the home-community. At the same time does the support of the community facilitate entrepreneur’s success and individual independency in town, and thereby the construction of the communal-individual.