Assembling street vending

Current scholarship on street vending in cities of the global south have mainly focused on street vendors and their politics of resistance against the state’s revanchist and exclusionary policies. This article draws from, and seeks to contribute to, this literature by considering the strategies of, and the shifting associations between, a broader range of agents – in addition to street vendors themselves – and the ways they shape and reshape street vending as a performed and diversely constituted practice. The article examines how the embedded relationships between agents including various state entities, shopkeepers and street vendors, as well as city buildings, infrastructure and policies, have been shaping geographically uneven and spatially differentiated forms, intensity and distribution of street vending in three different locations in Tehran. To make this argument, the article draws on assemblage thinking for framing the processes and trajectories through which urban street vending is being (re)territorialised and de-territorialised. The article demonstrates that moving beyond the dichotomised analysis of power relationships between the state and vendors matters for a better understanding of street vending practices as the local articulations of the fragmented, multi-scaled and multi-sited networks of associations that are stitched into different places in the city and shape diverse socio-material formations of street vending.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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