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Development and Progress as Historical Phenomena in Tanzania: “Maendeleo? We Had That in the Past”

  • Robert M. Ahearne
Abstract:

Academic discussions of development continue to grow, yet critical engagements with communities affected by development interventions remain limited. Drawing from life history interviews conducted in southern Tanzania, this article details the varied experiences of development interventions among older people and how these affect broader understandings of progress. Many juxtapose their negative views of ujamaa villagization with more positive recollections of previous interventions (especially the Groundnut Scheme), which are infused with what is described here as “development nostalgia.” Perceptions of the past clearly inform the social, political, and economic aspirations forwarded today, with the richness of the constructed narratives adding further nuance to existing depictions of Tanzanian historiography.

Bien qu’il y ait de plus en plus de discussions académiques sur le sujet du développement, les engagements critiques avec les communautés touchées par les interventions de développement restent limités. À partir d’entretiens basés sur des expériences personnelles menés dans le sud de la Tanzanie, cet article détaille diverses expériences d’interventions de développement auprès de personnes âgées et comment cela contribue à une compréhension plus large du progrès. Bien des personnes juxtaposent leurs points de vue négatifs de la villagisation Ujamaa avec des souvenirs plus positifs des interventions précédentes (surtout, le système de l’arachide), qui sont imprégnées de ce qui est décrit ici comme “le développement nostalgie.” Les perceptions du passé nous renseignent clairement sur les aspirations sociales, politiques et économiques transmises aujourd’hui, la richesse des récits construits ajoutant des nuances supplémentaires à la représentation existante de l’historiographie de la Tanzanie.

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African Studies Review
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