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Getting by in the Hustle economy

Tatiana wins PiHG Best Paper Prize

Getting by in the Hustle economy

Congratulations to Dr Tatiana Thieme, who has won one of two Progress in Human Geography prizes for the best paper published in the journal by an early career scholar during 2018.

The paper, The hustle economy: Informality, uncertainty and the geographies of getting by, employs the concept of hustle to examine the uncertainty and accepted informalities that pervade the everyday life of youth in precarious urban environments. Hustle is presented as a localized but widespread condition of contemporary urbanism, emerging from the everyday experiences of uncertainty and insecurity associated with ‘life work’ outside the bounds of formal social institutions.

Tatiana’s research explores the nexus of entrepreneurial and makeshift urbanism found in African and European cities. She applies urban ethnographic approaches to engage with individuals and communities that are often cut off from formal institutional support, including youth, slum dwellers, ex-offenders and refugees. Through this she seeks to document their everyday coping strategies, homegrown economic activities, street-oriented knowledge and affirmation narratives of struggle.

In response to the prize, Tatiana explains:

“I am especially grateful to many colleagues who listened to and commented on earlier draft versions of the paper, which is a ‘think piece’ for the monograph I am working on at the moment about Nairobi Hustle.”

The co-winner of this year’s prize is Lizzie Richardson (Durham University), Tatiana’s friend and research collaborator on a project, ‘Making work outside of prison’, for her paper on ‘Feminist geographies of digital work’.



‘Going into’ the field in Mathare, one of the oldest and largest informal settlements in Nairobi, where Tatiana has been conducting fieldwork since 2009.

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