Home Institution

Barnard College

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Program Name

Senegal: National Identity and the Arts


Africulturban is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote Senegalese urban culture, a highly popular, socially conscious, and youth-led movement that began in Dakar’s impoverished suburbs. Situated in one of these underdeveloped areas, the association works to improve its community and develop urban culture into an industry that can support its artists. As a case study, this research firstly examines how Africulturban, as a young, grassroots organization, is run. It further aims to understand how urban culture may be used as a tool of social development by looking at the culture’s specific characteristics that make it suitable to this task. The study then explores how Africulturban in particular takes advantage of these qualities on an international, national, local, and associational level. As a result of this analysis, I argue that Africulturban’s main work lies not in creating direct social change, or quantifiable social and economic advancements, but rather in establishing avenues of social exchange, or relationships and lines of communication, that are necessary in order to lay the foundation for sustainable development.


Civic and Community Engagement | Family, Life Course, and Society | Inequality and Stratification | Politics and Social Change | Sociology of Culture