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Taken For A RideGrounding Neoliberalism, Precarious Labour, and Public Transport in an African Metropolis$
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Matteo Rizzo

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794240

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794240.001.0001

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Taken for a Ride

Taken for a Ride

Rethinking Neoliberalism, Precarious Labour, and Public Transport from an African Metropolis

(p.1) 1 Taken for a Ride
Taken For A Ride

Matteo Rizzo

Oxford University Press

The chapter starts by describing public transport in Dar es Salaam as ‘functional chaos’. It then critically reviews two thematic literatures, on African cities and on their informal economies, to reveal that references to chaos, dystopia, and their opposites, order and functionalism, are common. The key argument is that a highly contextual understanding of urban informality and of how African cities work is required to avoid overly deterministic structural accounts and romantic celebration of African agency without due attention to structural constraints. The chapter presents the book’s approach: namely a political-economy analysis, centred on class analysis and wary of automatically reading off the political interests of actors from their class position. It argues that neoliberalism and post-socialism are key to understanding Tanzania and public transport in Dar es Salaam, and calls for grounding ‘actually existing neoliberalism’ in a particular context while retaining the analytical power of the concept of neoliberalism.

Keywords:   public transport, informal economy, urban studies, labour, neoliberalism, post-socialism, postcolonial theory, Tanzania, Dar es Salaam, Africa

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