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The Routes of Rule: The Role of Roads in Kenyan Governance and Popular Evaluations of “Development” and Authority, 1890s-1992

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The Routes of Rule: The Role of Roads in Kenyan Governance and Popular Evaluations of “Development” and Authority, 1890s-1992

Park, Emma (2013) The Routes of Rule: The Role of Roads in Kenyan Governance and Popular Evaluations of “Development” and Authority, 1890s-1992. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

My dissertation explores the “politics of mobility” over the course of Kenya’s
colonial and postcolonial histories. Moving between the technopolitical strategies of the state and the quotidian practices of Kenyans, I consider how technologies of mobility have mediated social relationships, turning movement itself into a contested category of political action. In doing so, I track how colonial and postcolonial authorities have used road networks, the rights to mobility, and the circulation of the technologies associated with roads – bicycles, motorcycles, cars, and matatus (minibuses) – to reward “loyal” constituencies, thereby variously marking inclusion and exclusion from popular though
contested visions of “development” and “modernity.” Combining the insights of cultural studies and anthropology, with those of science studies, this research both tracks how the material and infrastructural routes of colonial and post-colonial governance have been used to extend coercive authority and, concomitantly, how these technologies have been appropriated by populations, becoming rich idioms as well as central material sites for popular expressions of discontent. To this end, this dissertation explores how roads are used as a central organizing theme in Kenyan discussions of the relative
“development” of the country, discussions that popularly express regional
understandings of the deprivations associated with state and everyday forms of
corruption.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Park, Emma
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:History
Date:6 December 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Ivaska, Andrew and Zilberstein, Anya and Razlogova, Elena
ID Code:978770
Deposited By: EMMA PARK
Deposited On:24 Jul 2014 14:08
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:47

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