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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Revisiting 'ujamaa': political legitimacy and the construction of community in post-colonial Tanzania
Author:Hunter, EmmaISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:Journal of Eastern African Studies
Volume:2
Issue:3
Pages:471-485
Language:English
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:political terminology
Arusha Declaration
ujamaa
nation building
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/17531050802401858
Abstract:This article suggests that one way of moving forward in thinking about the postcolonial State is to take seriously political discourse produced in arenas other than the centre of State power and look closely at the ways in which political metaphors produced by the ruling party and intended to mobilize the nation behind one particular national vision were employed in practice. Focusing on Tanzania's postcolonial social and economic policies, often referred to as 'ujamaa', the article examines a set of political metaphors, moving this method of analysis beyond the city and into the countryside, by looking at these metaphors within a different context, that of a local newspaper, 'Kusare', from a geographically peripheral region of Tanzania, Kilimanjaro. Taking the Arusha Declaration of 1967 as a key moment in Tanzania's political history which sought to redefine the basis of legitimacy of the postcolonial State, it looks at the letters sent to 'Kusare' over the six-month period following the Declaration. Close reading of these letters suggests unease with the new narrative's ability to address underlying economic and social contradictions. The article argues that attention to the use of 'ujamaa' vocabulary on the periphery and by non-official actors in the months after the Arusha Declaration demonstrates that it could be employed to argue about social and economic morality in a way which necessarily engaged with a broader national discourse. It also further argues, however, that there were limits to the power of nationalist discourses to construct political legitimacy rhetorically, and that discourse must be examined in interaction with the material challenges facing the postcolonial State. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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