Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Urban Sociology

Hannah Schilling

Dissertation Project (ongoing)


“Débrouillards” of the digital era. Comparing practices of securing livelihood of young urbanites in Abidjan and Berlin

Research Interests:
  • urban economies

  • (postcolonial) social theory

  • qualitative social network analysis

  • livelihood research


This project examines the way digitization of urban economies produces practices of securing livelihood, while paying attention to variations in institutional arrangements. It brings into dialogue the experiences of Abidjanese phonebox workers and Berlin based food-delivery bikers, as exemplary cases of young workers in cities with contrasting legal orders and positions in the global economy. Adopting a praxeological approach, this project understand security not as a state of being, but looks at what I call “practices of securing livelihood”: practices that serve economic integration, including work, labor- and support relations. The research contributes to a critical working with concepts related to security, labor and livelihood in the digital era, and promotes a global sociology reflective upon its historicity and standpoint.


Mail: hannah.schilling[at]