s t y l i n g the nation: beauty salons and the politics of hair in south sudan
This new project follows the commodity chain of synthetic and real hair production, distribution and consumption into South Sudan. I trace the flow of hair weaves and related beauty products from Dubai to the markets of Kampala and Nairobi and onto the emerging markets in the newly independent Republic. Through the lens of the beauty salon I explore the political-economy of business development, the tensions around and opportunities for new migrants, and the shifting notions of fashion and beauty in the new nation. In particular, I’m interested in the contradictory way in which the foreign (in the form of immigrant stylists, imported cosmetics, transnational traders and non-Sudanese business owners) is both celebrated and worried over in the contemporary nationalist moment. The first piece of this project has been published in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.