Through the Lens of Care | (Tanzania) Nina Haberland

Through the lens of care: Encountering the state in post-socialist Tanzania

Based on 12 months of ethnographic research, this project focuses on the encounters between state agents and citizens in a public hospital and social welfare office in Northern Tanzania. As street-level bureaucrats, nurses and welfare officers play a central role in people’s perception and understanding of ‘the’ state as they negotiate ideas of care responsibilities, (un)deservingness, and moralities in their daily interactions with patients, patients’ relatives, or welfare clients. These negotiations are characterized by certain ideas of what the state is and, more importantly, how the state is supposed to care for its citizens. Considering the country’s past, this project argues that the relationship between citizens and the state is crucially informed by the continuities of Tanzania’s socialist period Ujamaa.

Nina Haberland

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