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BUILDING THE CITY OF THE FUTURE: VISIONS AND EXPERIENCES OF MODERNITY IN GHANA'S AKOSOMBO TOWNSHIP*

  • STEPHAN F. MIESCHER (a1)
Abstract
ABSTRACT

Akosombo Township, designed by the Greek urbanist Constantinos Doxiadis, is the model city at the foot of the hydroelectric Akosombo Dam, Ghana's largest development project. The article explores different visions of high modernist planning for Akosombo and juxtaposes it with the desires for and imaginations of modernity among its residents. Officials of the Volta River Authority, the agency in charge of the township, promoted specific ideas about housing, husbandry, and hygiene, while residents engaged with and resisted this kind of social engineering. These tensions came to the fore, when the squatters of Combine struggled to remain in the township. In conversation with residents, VRA officials produced a form of ‘high modernist local knowledge’.

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Author's email: miescher@history.ucsb.edu
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*

Research for this article was supported by the American Council of Learned Societies; the President's Research Fellowships in the Humanities, University of California; and the Academic Senate, University of California, Santa Barbara. I am grateful to Laura Fair, Lisa Lindsay, Bianca Murillo, Erika Rappaport, and three anonymous readers for comments on earlier versions of this article.

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References
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M. Herzfeld , ‘Political optics and the occlusion of intimate knowledge’, American Anthropologist, 107:3 (2005)

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The Journal of African History
  • ISSN: 0021-8537
  • EISSN: 1469-5138
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-african-history
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