The Humanitarian Hangover. Displacement, Aid and Transformation in Western Tanzania, by Loren Landau
Through painstaking field research and clear theorisation, Loren Landau demonstrates that the impacts of refugees are complex and often far from negative for host regions. This important contribution, The Humanitarian Hangover. Displacement, Aid and Transformation in Western Tanzania, deserves to be read by students and policy-makers alike.
Emblazoned with campaign posters for the country's ruling party, the Chama cha Mapinduzi (Party of the Revolution - CCM), the impressive machine was parked near the town's central market, where it served as a backdrop for self-congratulatory political speeches in which officials applauded themselves for bringing 'development' to Kasulu. A little more than a month later, the ruling party won a landslide victory in one of the poorest and most dangerous districts in the country. The grader's presence and its symbolic manipulation represents far more than domestic political strategies and electioneering. Were it not for a set of events and processes extending into neighbouring Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as well as Geneva, Washington, London, and Brussels, the massive machine would never have come up the barely passable road from the regional capital. Only the influx of tens of thousands of refugees from Tanzania's neighbours and millions of dollars of aid from Europe, Japan, and North America made the ruling party's grand entrance possible. And only by examining past government initiatives - failures and successes - can we begin to understand the political transformations that have taken place along Tanzania's western frontier. Even after the aid dollars dry up and the refugees return home, these dynamics will have changed how citizens relate to one another, the state, the territory they inhabit, and a set of processes - displacement and humanitarianism - that are an under-explored form of globalisation. Western Tanzania's humanitarian hangover is a perplexing configuration of attitudes, institutions, and practices. In this semi-transnationalised space, aid agencies, the United Nations (UN), and refugees are exposing the functional weakness of the Tanzanian state, as it stands by, unable to address persistent poverty and increasing insecurity. But even as peasant villagers incorporate these extra-territorial actors into their political cosmology, they are strengthening analytical and moral categories that tie them to the Tanzanian territory, population, and political institutions. This is not simply a reassertion of local values when facing the innumerable threats of globalisation, nor is it the incorporation of remote rural Tanzania into global circuits of capitalist trade (cf. Geschiere 2006; Bauman 2002; Comaroff and Comaroff 2001). Rather, it is the product of global processes and actors engaging with local agents - public and private - and existing political configurations in ways that are generating novel relationships and political logics.
Conceptual and theoretical foundations:
This project bridges studies of displacement and humanitarianism and more enduring inquiries into the territorial, institutional, and identitive foundations of contemporary political organisations. Rather than exploring how African politics generates massive human displacement, it looks at the effects of these migrations and responses to them. By focusing on the politics of receiving (host) communities, the study broadens our understanding of 'displacement', while treating migration and humanitarianism as points of departure for interrogating social scientific theories of the contemporary state and political transformation. [...]
This is an excerpt from: The Humanitarian Hangover. Displacement, Aid and Transformation in Western Tanzania, by Loren Landau.
Title: The Humanitarian Hangover
Subtitle: Displacement, Aid and Transformation in Western Tanzania
Editor: Loren Landau
Publisher: Witwatersrand University Press
Johannesburg, South Africa 2008
ISBN 9781868144556 / ISBN 978-1-86814-455-6
Paperback, 17 x 24 cm, 192 pages, several maps, tables and figures
Landau, Loren im Namibiana-Buchangebot
The Humanitarian Hangover. Displacement, Aid and Transformation in Western Tanzania: The anomalous spaces and practices generated by refugees and humanitarian aid, and how they transformed politics and governmental practices.