Accepted paper:

Producing urban coherence: police-traffic random inspections and urbanites tactics

Authors:

Patrick Mlinga (University of Leipzig)

Paper short abstract:

African cities have recently gained scholarly attention on how they are organized, produced and used. This paper intends to interrogate the tensions produced when urban police-traffic officers inspect urban transportation services provided by taxis and town buses to city dwellers in urban Zanzibar.

Paper long abstract:

African cities have recently gained scholarly attention on how they are organized, produced and used. The most notable features have been mobility and flexibility of people and objects. Socio-spatial practices and public life across urban Africa, are noted with persistent tensions as to what is possible within the city as well as what are the appropriate forms of social connections through which possibilities can be pursued. This paper intends to interrogate the tensions produced when urban police-traffic officers inspect urban transportation services provided by taxis and town buses to city dwellers in urban Zanzibar. The guiding question of this article is "how do urbanites search for and create coherence when urban police-traffics conduct random inspections of taxis and town buses in urban Zanzibar"? Different academic registers have noted that most urban regulatory frameworks or guidelines are top-down rules which miss significant inputs from practices on ground and therefore produce tensions between urban transportation service providers and beneficiaries. An ethnographic strategy on everyday practices of urbanites, taxi and town buses drivers in navigating 'people' and 'urban space' was conducted during the fieldwork of September 2018 to January 2019 in urban Zanzibar. The Findings indicate that urban transport in Zanzibar like in most African countries is exclusively a private business with a handy of government in the name of regulations and guidelines. Urbanites know how to cope up with tensions thus are in a good position to produce coherence for their everyday practices, therefore know how to do their city.

panel Anth04
Urban policing and production of the city