Playing information games

démarcheurs in the second‐hand car markets of Cotonou, Bénin

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
Author:
Joost Beuving Amsterdam University College – Social Sciences, Science Park 113, Amsterdam 1090 GD Amsterdam, Netherlands, j.j.beuving@auc.nl

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This paper discusses , intermediaries in the second‐hand car markets in Cotonou, Bénin. An ethnographic case study shows how make a profit by creating barriers between car buyers and sellers. In this way the paper presents an alternative interpretation of intermediaries: not as brokers of market information in fragmented business networks but as skilful information manipulators who pretend to be important. By analysing how interpret the car business as an information game, the paper tries to make understandable the cultural logic of their economic behaviour. This shows that market information is socio‐culturally constructed knowledge and that intermediaries play a crucial role in its construction.

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