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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Sovereignty and socialism in Tanzania: the historiography of an African State
Author:Bjerk, Paul K.ISNI
Periodical:History in Africa (ISSN 1558-2744)
Geographic term:Tanzania
political history
political philosophy
Abstract:This review of scholarship on the postcolonial Tanzanian State shows that scholars are torn between the impulse to understand the theoretical implications of Tanzania's experience with socialism and a more pragmatic concern to evaluate the country's claim to sovereign authority. It is clear that Tanzania's socialism was at the same time a claim to sovereignty - ideological, economic and political. The tension in scholarship on the Tanzanian State has not been between moderate and radical socialism as has often seemed the case. Rather, debates have pitted the diffuse international discourses of modernization, socialist and otherwise, against the specific cultural needs of defining a truly independent African State. Addressing this distinction allows for a historical perspective that moves beyond obsolete debates about various theories of socialism, and understand those debates as evidence of an internationally compelling national philosophy. Disentangling the complex interchange of local and foreign discourses that constituted Tanzania's claim to sovereign statehood will offer insight into how the presentist concerns of past generations can inform historical analysis. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]