Tanzania + 2 more

Crisis and Authority: A Research Agenda for Exploring Political Transformation in Refugee-Affected Tanzania

Originally published

Crisis and Authority: A Research Agenda for Exploring Political Transformation in Refugee-Affected Tanzania1
Loren B. Landau
Department of Political Science
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley CA 94720

The state is a social relation which can indeed be analyzed as the site, the generator, and the product of strategies. Bob Jessop2

This is a study about the politics of rural Tanzania; it is an account of crises, transitions, and transformations. Through a comparison of two similar sites - one of which has been directly influenced by substantial inflows of central African refugees - I endeavor to demonstrate how crises may lead to the reconfiguration of political authority among host populations (i.e., Tanzanians). This is a timely project that will systematically explore a topic which is becoming an ever more important part of people’s lived reality throughout the world.3 In tracing the impacts of refugees and humanitarian assistance on Tanzanian political practice, I not only intend to address the need for a better understanding of forced migration, but to synthesize studies of the refugee experience with scholarship on state-formation and the structuring of state-society relations. Melding these two literatures will benefit from considerable cross-fertilization while simultaneously helping to eschew mechanistic and teleological models of rural political-economic transition and development. In lieu of linear models of change, I intend to highlight the central role played by historical contingency in shaping contemporary political institutions and behavior.

As noted, this project responds most directly to the under-substantiated claim that the social, economic, and environmental crises often occasioned by the sudden arrival of refugees and humanitarian aid have long-term political consequences (See Allen 1994; Prendergast 1996:31; Maren 1997). These phenomena’s potentially catalytic effects on African countries, who boast approximately one third of the world’s refugees (7.2 million; UNHCR 1998), are all but self-evident. Tanzania alone, the world’s fourth poorest country, hosted 703,000 officially recognized refugees in 1997, and probably half that number again in unregistered exiles (UNHCR 1997).4 In response to these migrations, millions of dollars have been sent to areas only marginally incorporated into the national, let alone global, political economy. Such inflows represent a quintessential ‘exogenous shock’, one more immediately palpable than those induced by official development assistance (ODA), foreign direct investment, or any variety of IMF/World Bank economic adjustment packages. While a number of recent studies have begun exploring this issue, most have tended to focus on the short-term material or environmental effects. This, I contend, is only part of the story. Those willing to look further, to the ways in which these events have effected the relationship between central state institutions and rural residents, there is perhaps a more subtle and revealing set of processes to waiting to be revealed.

The dynamics of these crises provide a unique opportunity to view the micro-foundations that buttress contemporary state forms as they are made and remade. Faced with a tremendous increase in material and emotional demands, even institutionalized behavioral patterns may become vulnerable to reconsideration. This process opens new and unexpected avenues for the renegotiation and transformation of extant relationships among domestic and international actors of various skills and capacities (see Grindle 1996:46: also, Appendix One).5 The involvement of new sets of actors may, moreover, thoroughly redefine the nature of these ties. As in any negotiation, the results generated by these dealings are not always predictable (Colson 1971; Moore 1986). That said, there are certain variables that may make certain outcomes more likely than others. Through an investigation into the dynamics and outcomes of these compromises, bargains, and reformulations, I intend to uncover the roots of current patterns of political authority - partially institutionalized configurations of asymmetric relationships involving domestic, national, and international actors and organizations. Through this effort I intend to demonstrate that rather than there being a single, predictable, and unilinear model of state-formation, such patterns are varied and highly contingent.

At the theoretical core of this project is an attempt to label and explain the outcomes of these negotiations and political reconfigurations. In the interest of building a broader theoretical apparatus, the labels I provide are not specific to the results of refugee crises, but are meant as universal categories that may be applied across time and space. I propose that a set of authority relationships be characterized along two dimensions based on which general ordering principle is at work (see figure below). The first of these ranges from disengagement to normative engagement. In this ‘model’, disengagement suggests a condition in which individuals, households, and groups have withdrawn (or remain consciously distant) from domestic authorities and official organizations. Disengagement should not be seen, however, as necessarily the result of sub-altern strategies; state actors may allow or facilitate this separation for instrumental or technical reasons (see Bratton 1994; Chazan 1994; Moore 1986; Verdery 1991a).6 Normative authority is a converse condition where the relationships among state institutions and the residents are dynamic, responsive and consensual, indicating agreement on fundamental ideological principles, policy objectives, or behavioral norms. In addition to the level of engagement, a given set of ties may vary along a second dimension indicating the degree to which coercive or co-optive mechanisms are employed. A system described as coercive regularly relies, as the label indicates, on force to ensure order and the execution of official edicts. A set of co-optive relations is one in which political power is maintained through exchange of material or political favors outside a formal system of laws and regulations.7 While it is theoretically possible for a given set of authority relations to fall entirely under a single label, such a condition would be 'ideal-typical' and would be truly exceptional. Most modes of authority relations will fall somewhere within the spectrum created by these dimensions.

While the position of a given community within this schema is never fixed, refugee-induced political and economic crises may serve as critical junctures during which a given locale's dominant authority pattern may dramatically shift. I propose that where strong institutional capacity - the necessary (but not sufficient) skills and resources to execute policy and structure participation - exists during the period of crisis, a pattern of relationships will be established based either on coercion or normative engagement. Which of these modes becomes dominant results from the convergence or divergence of interests or goals among the host population and state agents. Where the capacity to structure interests and execute policy based on shared objectives exists, normative engagement will emerge. Where state actors have resources and skills but are unable to elicit the support of the relevant populations, they are likely to rely on more coercive means in an attempt to ensure compliance. When institutional capacity is low, one of two outcomes is possible: co-optation or disengagement. Co-optation will occur when members of the population identify their goals as being shared by some set of state actors. The state actor(s) in turn recognizes this as an opportunity to gain power or stature and attempts to respond to public demands. The incapacity to do so within 'bureaucratic' guidelines, however, means that maintaining a position of power will rely on co-optive mechanisms. Where incapacity exists and there are no incentives for collaboration (i.e., convergence of interest), disengagement is likely. In the three remaining sections, I seek to identify where and how it may be possible to investigate the construction of such patterns of authority and political configurations.

Although this schema may be reordered to read in terms of dependent and independent variables, I have consciously avoided doing so. Instead, I adapt a somewhat weaker notion of causality based on ‘elective affinities’ in which particular variables are said to appear together, without necessarily having a particular combination of factors result in a particular outcome. I adopt this position not out of a categorical dismissal of deductive reasoning (or the possibility of identifying causality), but rather because the qualities of the variables I use are not receptive to such analysis. In the terms of this project, one could quite easily imagine an instance where a state agent enters an environment with relatively weak resources and capacities, but ends up well-funded as the result of a strong public support; backing which that very actor may have helped mobilize (see Selznick 1980). Similarly, extensive resources (material and human) on the part of a state agency may help to alter the preferences and interests of refugees and citizens in such a way as to create a certain level of convergence (supply creates demand). What is significant for my purposes is whether, during the period of crisis when relationships and values are most open to reconsideration, a certain set of conditions can be said to exist or have been created. If indeed these conditions (institutional capacity and convergence of interest) have particular affinities with forms of organizing, following the crisis period these patterns are likely to become institutionalized as a mode of authority.

Preliminary evidence from regions like Western Tanzania where the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees has transformed numerous communities, suggests that shifts in modes of authority have already begun to occur. Towns and villages which ten years ago rested largely outside the state's bailiwick (non-engagement) have become hosts to a panoply of domestic and international agencies and recipients of millions of dollars in aid and humanitarian assistance, much of which arrives under the auspices or in collaboration with the central government. Such demographic and monetary inflows necessarily alter the ways in which citizens interact with social service agencies and government officials. Residents who once saw the state as distant but capable may come to feel threatened by a proximate state they see as incompetent or unconcerned with their welfare (non-convergence of interests).8 The presence of seemingly intrusive international actors may similarly serve to turn citizens against a state they see as colluding with alien forces, whether refugees or international organizations, possibly resulting in a pattern of coercion. Alternatively, state action may be welcomed for the order, stability, and economic opportunities it can provide (convergence of interests resulting in normative engagement). Through an on-site comparative study of two villages, bolstered by secondary source accounts of other regions, I intend to demonstrate empirically how these propositions may (or may not) be realized in the social reality of Tanzanians.

The remainder of this proposal is divided into three sections. The first reviews the literatures from which I explicitly draw, namely discussions of state-society relations and authority. My conceptual 'tour' is succeeded by an introduction to places and events Tanzanian as a way to establish the context for this project’s research phase. The final section discusses my research design, the specific ways in which I intend to transform my theoretical apparatus into an empirical study.

Relevant Concepts and Literatures

Substantiating the claim that refugees and humanitarian assistance have long-term political consequences requires a means of characterizing and evaluating socio-political change in a way that highlights the complex dynamics responsible for these transformations. The challenge of finding an appropriate conceptual lens through which to gauge these transformations is heightened by two factors. The first of these is the requirement that one develop a means of analysis that is not based exclusively on the kinds of formal data (e.g., public opinion polls, economic survey results) which, if they exist at all, are often inaccessible to one undertaking research on rural Africa. The second hurdle is conceptual. With few exceptions, the predominant problematics and language of social science are oriented towards questions derived from European and American events. While practical concerns may be at least partially overcome by pragmatic strategies (see the ‘implementation’ section of this proposal), this latter issue is considerably less tractable. Rather than develop or adopt an alternative language or conceptual apparatus (an appraoch adopted by many Africanists), I see this inquiry as an opportunity to challenge the definitional boundaries of more mainstream theories in ways that may reveal their inconsistencies and false assumptions. My purpose in the following review is, therefore, not to point to new phenomena, nor to tour all relevant scholarship. I intend, rather, to use this short expedition to collect concepts and tools with which to make visible a set of socio-political dynamics that have largely fallen outside the analytical apparatus of American social science (Ranger 1996:272; see also Bayart 1993:111; Chabal 1996:29).

The State and State-Society Relations

The primary goal of this project is to explore how political relationships are transformed by the rapid influx of refugees and humanitarian assistance. Speaking of the state and state-society relations provides a holistic perspective that affords the opportunity to incorporate many of the insights that recent studies of citizenship provide while simultaneously pointing to broader institutional and social relationships. The ‘state’, and the structure of its ties to various social groups, have long been central targets of political analysis and action.9 What follows is not yet another treatise on the proper place of the state in social scientific analysis, but is instead a broad and critical review of past debates presented with the purpose of developing a framework through which to view the changing political patterns in refugee-affected regions. In doing this, I hope it will become evident how this framework may ultimately help to refine general discussions of the state and the origins of political institutions.

For purposes of clarity, it is best to begin by exploring the ways in which the state ought not be seen. Given the similarity of political institutions in countries with remarkably different political patterns, it makes little sense to see the state simply as a set of formal organizations derived instrumentally and voluntaristically to meet the needs of society at large (Jessop 1990:5).10 The work of a broad group of scholars commonly characterized as the neo-statists has highlighted the need to assign the state, or elements thereof, some analytical autonomy from society at large. There have been too many examples of states acting against the interests of capitalists and other prominent social forces - both international and domestic - to do otherwise. Based on these observations, many authors suggest ‘the state’ be seen as an actor (animate or inanimate) in its own right, capable of influencing the behavior of society and mediating and exploiting the influences of international and domestic economic and political pressures (see Evans 1985, 1995; Johnson 1982; Levy 1999). To be sure, the Tanzanian Ministry of Home Affairs has often negotiated with both international and domestic actors over the humanitarian assistance that is to be delivered to refugees in the western regions of the country. What is more, there can be little doubt that many of these policies have, at least historically, been selected with little or no direct inclusion of those Tanzanians likely to be affected by their implementation.

In the fervor to assert autonomy for the state, the ‘neo-statists’ have often been guilty of reifining the state, speaking of it in abstract, general, and unitary terms. In the case referred to above, it is, after all, only the Ministry of Home Affairs and not the Tanzanian state in toto which is involved in negotiations with the international organizations. One can not assume that the interests or decisions made by the MHA are necessarily shared by other relevant agencies, let alone by the resident population most likely to be affected.11 The presence of internal divides within and among agencies speaks to the need to understand how various elements of the state and society interact and how the boundaries between the two, particularly how they are perceived, come to be established. While post hoc analysis may allow the observer to construct a story that sensibly speaks of a united state pursuing a set of clear objectives, the realities of the time are rarely so tidy. In the case of many African states, bodies not frequently praised for their administrative or coordination capacities, there is an especially acute need to identify the relevant actors.

Recognizing that what comes to be seen as ‘state action’ may in fact be the result of the initiatives undertaken by a single agency or an amalgam of competing agencies rather than the state as a whole suggests a need to consider carefully the content and context of ‘state action’. Only in so doing can one explain how a particular strategy or behavior came to dominate perceptions of the state’s actions. Why is it, for example, that the Ministry of Home Affairs efforts to provide humanitarian assistance come to be seen by a given community as representative of the state’s intentions when, in fact, these initiatives might represent only one small element of the government’s overall aims? The historical contingencies that determine which institutions and actions come to characterize a given national (or local) government suggests that to speak sensibly of ‘the state’ requires a careful consideration of the cultural, institutional, and geographic contexts in which this state operates (Jessop 1990:267-269). With this realization comes an ever more fervent call not to view states as a universal set of key institutions, but as fundamentally different entities that can only be understood by considering the society (or societies) in which they are ‘embedded’ (see Evans 1995).

Drawing much of my initial inspiration from the dynamism and holism of this semi-novel ‘state-in-society’ analytic (see Migdal, et al. 1994; Campbell 1989), I follow its imperative to see national politics as rooted in the local manifestations of state institutions (what some have term ‘anthropologies of the state’). In this view, the central state is seen as "a construct that lies on top of other local commitments in which the same men are involved" (Moore 1986: 213). Critical interconnections between rural political affairs and the institutions of the state remain impenetrable to the observer who only examines the official hierarchy.12 Recognizing these connections offers both important insights and the need for an elaborated set of analytical and conceptual tools. Most importantly, it opens the possibility that a single state may simultaneously take on varied manifestations across the territory over which it is charged.

Accepting that past patterns of social and material relations often cement to form the infrastructure of contemporary political action, many contemporary authors have come to view the state less as a collection of concrete institutions and more as a social construction. A good number of these perspectives draw on Gramscian thought and, particularly, the work of the French Marxian scholar Nicos Poulantzas (1979[1974]). Poulantzas, working within his Marxist ontology, argued that state power is a social relation, produced and reproduced through the interactions of bureaucratic state institutions and class forces.13 While this perspective is perhaps still too generalized - it fails, for example, to adequately problematize the notion of ‘class’ as the most salient social cleavage and focuses unduly on state efforts to control society - his work has opened important avenues for further inquiry.

Michel Foucault fortifies Poulantzas’ ideas by conceptualizing the state as a set of organizations emerging from and constantly restructuring broader social forces. Rather than focusing solely on central state institutions and their means of control, he draws attention to the dispersed origins of disciplinary techniques.14 These modalities of control vary, from physical coercion (control of the body), to subtler forms of internalized coercion (socialization) and cognitive normalization. The agglutination of these techniques into a ‘state’ (or a system of governmentality) results from a dual process of centralization (where the state takes control of these mechanisms) and diffusion (where an attempt is made to spread these mechanisms universally throughout society). Foucault’s emphasis on historical process leads to a second, methodological contribution: the application of ‘archaeological’ and ‘genealogical’ approaches to the study of social phenomenon.15 While such an approach has provided a number of important studies, many Foucauldian authors often make a kind of totalizing assumption, a belief that competing economies of discipline necessarily become unified into one meta-system blanketing all of a society. While patterns of discipline undeniably exist in all places and at all times, the heterogeneity of these arrangements may be remarkably persistent. I wish to argue that understanding the emergence and maintenance of this diversity requires an approach that accounts for differing forms of political and economic incorporation. For current purposes, this difference is expected to result from the varied ways in which state, international, and local actors interact during periods of refugee-induced crisis.

If one is willing to accept that the state - a configuration of institutional structures, actors, organizations, and social relations - is both continually reconstructed by (and constructing of) its relationships with its geographical, human, and temporal context, one must still developing a means of characterizing and describing these ties. Any attempt to make such characterizations must be built on the recognition that state-society relations are based on the particular histories of a society (or set of societies) or would-be political community. Moreover, the qualities of these relations, even within the same national community, are diverse. A robust analysis must, therefore, seek to account for such variation. My perspective is best illustrated by recalling Elias’s metaphor of the ‘card game’. Here the state does not substantively exist beyond the historically conditioned configuration of inter-dependent social and political actors that comprise it. If one wishes to speak of anything tangible:

[w]e can say that the configuration formed by the players is as concrete as the players themselves. By figuration we mean the changing pattern created by the players as a whole - not only by their intellects, but by their whole selves, the totality of their dealings in their relationships with each other. It can be seen that this figuration forms a flexible lattice-work of tensions. The interdependence of the players, which is a prerequisite for their forming a figuration, may be an interdependence of allies or of opponents (Elias 1978:30).

Within this perspective, rules may exist independently of a given individual or set of actors (i.e., where they structure action unattached from coercion), but their power can not be accepted a priori. Rather, their influence and meaning comes only through iterative processes that cause them to become internalized, resisted, and rewritten by those whom they effect (see Mitchell 1991; DiMaggio 1991). Moreover, actors may come to the table with different agendas and attitudes and, through playing, elicit any variety of responses from the other players. In the process, the game is itself redefined. To take this metaphor yet a step further, the influx of refugees and humanitarian assistance may be sees as comparable to the arrival of a set of party crashers who upset the card-table and then demand inclusion in the game. As a result of this, the relationships among the original actors - hosts and state agents - are substantially altered.

I recognize that the holism and historicity of this perspective appears to put at risk the comparative nature of social scientific inquiry. To be sure, recognizing the inter-constitutive nature of the state challenges the formal institutional comparison regularly undertaken within sociology (Evans 1997), economics (World Bank 1997), and political science (Putnam 1988). If one wishes, however, to compare politics, it is imperative to study the dynamic relationships that buttress formal institutions. For those endeavoring to make sense of the bemusing behavior of African state actors and institutions, a focus on the dynamic and inter-constitutive nature of the state provides far more accuracy than simply dismissing these institutions as the creations of international law (the ‘juridical state’) or layovers from the colonial period without autochthonous roots in the contemporary period.16


If the previous discussion has suggested anything concrete, it is that tracing the transformatory effects of refugee-induced crises requires an analytic model that incorporates the full variety and dynamism of politically salient ties. In the following paragraphs I argue that examining configurations of authority relations provides the most effective means through which to bring the hidden structures of these transformations into relief so that they may be described and analyzed. In general terms, the literature invoking authority falls into one of three categories. The first typically conceives of authority in positive terms, as necessary both to establish order and to maximize freedom. Much work on political and economic development calls upon this perspective by advocating the rule of law or, explicitly, when speaking of overcoming a ‘crisis of authority’ (see Huntington 1968; World Bank 1997; O’Donnel 1997). The second school is rooted in a libertarian ontology and, as such, regards political/secular authority as a danger culminating, in its extreme form, authoritarian regimes, fascist, totalitarian, or otherwise.17 The third category differs by approaching authority not from a normative, but a sociological perspective. Although Bauman (1993) and other post-modernists may be included in this category, Weber, and his tripartite categorization of traditional, charismatic, and legal-rational authority, remains the avatar of this position (see Weber 1968b).18 His focus on authority as a socially legitimated form of power is particularly useful in highlighting the inter-constitutive and social nature of governance and rule. While Weber’s typology has utility in macro-historical analysis (see Jowitt 1992; Hyden 1980), it is too ungainly to provide sufficient insight into contemporary politics, even after accepting that his characterizations are ‘ideal-typical’.19 That predominantly traditional or charismatic forms of authority appear so irregularly outside of isolated organizations, indicates the need for a more nuanced and evocative schematic.

An etymology of ‘authority’ provides the foundation for an appropriately subtle treatment of the concept. The Latin, auctoritas, suggests the capacity to perform a speech act that exerts more than an influential statement, but less than that of a command. In Lincoln’s (1994:4) words, "authority is best understood in relational terms as the effect of a posited, perceived, or institutionally ascribed asymmetry between speaker and audience that permits certain speakers to command not just the attention but the confidence, respect, and the trust of their audience or - an important proviso - to make audiences act as if this were so."20 As Arendt (1958) suggests, both coercion and persuasion may be implicit in authority and required for its initial construction. The continued reliance on either coercion or rational argumentation indicates, however, the failure for ‘normative authority’ to take hold.21 These insights are useful conceptual contributions, but remain far too abstract for empirical study.

Eckstein and Gurr’s 1975 magnum opus, Patterns of Authority, shares many ambitions with my own project and provides critical insights into the theoretical disaggregation, practical recognition, and typologizing of ‘authority’ in its various forms. Presaging the analytical assertion of my own project, they contend that political systems may be characterized by and compared based on the patterns of authority predominant within them (22). Such patterns are both present and identifiable in organizations of all kinds, not only between citizens and state leaders, but also within bureaucracies and social collectives, public and private.22 Like Lincoln, Eckstein and Gurr point to the importance of social asymmetries, imbalanced relationships in which one party has some higher, although not necessarily fixed, level of influence over the other. Most importantly, the balance of these relationships may be in contradistinction to stated formal hierarchies. Given particular conditions, a subordinate may acquire substantive authority over a superior.23

While Eckstein and Gurr’s ultimate goal of developing ‘institutional effectiveness'24 must rank among a Foucauldian’s worst nightmares, the authors’ interest in the emergence and configuration of authority structures bears a marked similarity to the Foucauldian explorations of governmentality. Given this parallel, discussions of authority can help our understanding of the specific ways in which states becomes situated and understood within their respective societies. The perspective I adopt conceives the conglomeration of authority relationships at a societal level as synonymous with state-society relations. These asymmetric relations exist and are exercised both within the formal organizations of the state and among actors and organizations nestled in the population at large. For the most part, these relationships are held together not through coercion or utilitarian exchange, but through material and discursive intercourse. The task then, as noted, becomes a matter of explaining the participants, the qualities, and the origins of these networks.

Before speaking of how such an approach may be exercised, a number of caveats and qualifications are needed to elaborate further this conception of authority. First, authoritative links must be seen not only as limited to verbal expression, but also including law and symbolic manipulation. Second, one must recognize that as only one among many relationships, the authority of a given superior can be neither absolute nor universal. Linkages are open to constant renegotiation and challenge, even if the audience(s)’s actions are ‘technically’ consistent with prevailing norms or dictates.25 Even at the peak of their powers, authority is limited to a given forum. As an illustration, one need only think of judges whose authority may be relatively undisputed within a courtroom, but is of little consequence on the office-bound subway. Indeed, judges effectively cease to be judges (except as a professional title) outside the courtroom. The challenge for the observer is, therefore, not to document or chronicle the judge per se, but to understand the lineage and the conditions in which the judge or judge’s office has acquired a receptive audience.26 One must, moreover, understand the kind of tools used and the responses and counter-responses they elicit. Suggestions for how to characterize and compare these relational forms appear in subsequent sections.

The analytic framework outlined above provides three important advancements over past efforts to conceptualize state-society relationships. First, it takes as its starting point that authority relationships are constrained but not controlled by formal rules and regulations. This allows for a constant dynamism and flexibility while allowing for substantial reconfigurations of these relationships at times of crisis. Second, by attempting to account for actual (not formal) political behavior, such a model explicitly demands the disaggregation of the state so as to identify the sources of initiatives, the flow of commands, and the responses and counter-actions they elicit. Third, much as this problematic includes multiple actors within the government, it points to the need to consider a wide range of forces beyond the formal rubric of the state. This allowance is particularly significant when attempting to understand the ways in which refugees, domestic non-governmental organizations, and international agencies become incorporated into and, in turn, structure the practice of politics in a given locale.

Tanzanian Exceptionalism in Comparative Perspective

Although no single geographic locale can offer truly ‘experimental’ conditions for exploring reconfigurations of authority in the presence of refugees, Tanzania is a particularly conducive environment for tracing the dynamic relationships among states, international organizations, refugee populations and host communities for at least four reasons.

First, over the past thirty years, Tanzania has been host to hundreds of thousands of refugees from more than ten African countries. Throughout, long-term refugee assistance has been provided through an inclusive arrangement involving the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), an implementing partner (or partners), and the Ministry of Home Affairs (Gasarasi 1984; Conelly 1995; Johnson 1995:1; Armstrong 1988). Tanzania experienced its first sizable influx of refugees in 1961, when several thousand Rwandans crossed into the West Lake Region. Although some efforts were made to restrict refugees under the 1965 Refugee (Control) Act, a large number of these early refugees remained in Tanzania for years and, in 1980, many were eventually extended offers of Tanzanian citizenship (see Gasarasi 1984). It was, however, in the early 1970s that Tanzania experienced the first in-migration of crisis proportions. Tens of thousands of refugees alternatively poured and trickled over the borders from Burundi. Refugees have since continued to migrate in and out of Tanzania, having varying impacts on their host communities. While these two previous waves were significant, they pale in comparison to the experience of the early 1990s. In the twenty-four hours between 28-29 April 1994, approximately 250,000 Rwandan refugees flooded into Tanzania. By early May, the number of refugees at Benaco camp in Ngara stood somewhere between 500,000 and 700,000 people, making it the second largest city in Tanzania. Tanzania welcomed all of these refugees with only the most cursory formalities while appointing the UNHCR as the coordinating agency of the relief operation (Rutinwa 1996). During the subsequent two years, over a million refugees would stream into Tanzania, first from Rwanda, and then from Burundi. Even as this is being written, hundreds of refugees continue to enter Tanzania daily, from both Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most of these are settling/being settled in Kigoma region (particularly Kasulu and Kibondo districts), the site for one half of this study.

During the past three years, important changes have occurred in the long-standing hospitality offered to refugees. These shifts in policy speak to the ways in which interactions among refugees, international assistance, and host populations contribute to the character of domestic politics. In 1995, the Tanzanian government closed its border with Burundi and publicly declared its intention to repatriate all refugees living on Tanzanian soil. At that time there were, according to government sources, over 1,430,000 refugees in the country (Rutinwa 1996:296).27 In early 1998, the Tanzanian government took what many observers saw as unduly harsh steps to halt Hutu militia members from using Tanzanian refugee camps and their surroundings as bases for military incursions into Rwanda. These measures included sweeps through both camps and villages during which the Tanzanian army rounded up over 28,000 Burundians, Congolese, and Rwandans, some of who had been living peacefully in Tanzania for over a decade (Schorr 1998; see also US Committee for Refugees 1998:98). This action capped three years of growing hostility, sexual abuse of female refugees, mass refoulment (forced repatriation), killings, and arbitrary arrests of refugees and asylum seekers by the Tanzanian police and military (Karago 1995:5; Garras 1995).28 These tensions are further illustrated by the deteriorating relationships between refugees and the local populations, and evidence of a greater focus among host populations on the negative impact of the presence of refugees in the Ngara district. Some Tanzanians living near Karagwe were filled with such fear and resentment that they themselves fled their homes. Maliyamkono (1995:59), a Tanzanian intellectual and political insider, argues that repatriation of refugees (who he compares to a hoard of locusts) would not only prevent further environmental and financial woes, but is a central component of protecting Tanzanian cultural values (1995:59). Conflicts between the Tanzanian government and the UNHCR appear to be growing concomitantly. The implications of these shifts in policy go beyond the obvious humanitarian and security consequences. The hostility of the host populations and the response of the government may indicate a growing desire to (re)establish power in peripheral regions or to seek cultural purity in a time of broader economic and political transition.

Second, Tanzania has been among the most studied and analyzed countries in sub-Saharan Africa; a fact which is both a virtue and a vice. While I do not wish to delve into debates outlined in the ‘Tanzanologist’ literature,29 this discourse serves as an empirical and historical bolster to the demographic and policy oriented reports published by humanitarian assistance and development organizations (see Gibbon 1995: Hyden 1980; Kiondo 1994; McHenry 1994; Scott 1998). Although much of the academic literature is entrenched in teleologies and excessively aggregated conceptions of tradition, custom, society, and the state, it may nonetheless provide important contextual information with which to augment the data collected during the field work period. A number of studies undertaken by both the UNHCR and development agencies may provide important comparative economic and social data (see for example, NORAD 1982). Through this literature, I can more accurately identify the intentions of various actors and trace their impacts on the political trajectories of given regions and, ultimately, the country as a whole.

Third, despite varied efforts on the part of the Tanzanian government to induce a (socialist and then capitalist) transformation of its rural periphery, the western regions of the country - into which the majority of refugees has settled - long remained economically and politically, if not culturally, alienated from the productive and legislative centers on the eastern coast. Beginning during the colonial period, the West’s incorporation was largely limited to paying taxes and exporting male wage labor (Rodney 1983). If there was one area with which the region was substantively tied, it was with Zaire/Congo, Zambia, and Burundi. Even during the economic restructuring undertaken by the post-colonial government, most notably the forced villagization in the wake of the Arusha declaration, the western frontier remained relatively undeveloped (Wayne 1975; Hyden 1980).30 Indeed, Kigoma is often spoken of as the ‘end of Tanzania’, or the region that the government forgot.

Western Tanzania’s marginality means that the transformatory potential of a refugee presence is especially pronounced and visible to the observer. Even before the humanitarian crises of the early 1990s, the demographic impact of this migrant population was staggering. By 1987, about 90 percent of Tanzania’s refugees were concentrated in the western regions of Kigoma, Tabora, and Rukwa. At this point, refugees represented 15 percent of the region’s population. In Mpanda, the number was as high as 43 percent. While the numbers in Rukwa were lower, they remained significant at 6.6 percent (Daley 1993:18). During the 1994 Rwandan genocide, these numbers increased dramatically. The Ngara district hosted 700,000 refugees who dwarfed its 186,000 permanent inhabitants. In Karagwe there was a ratio of 163,000 refugees to 343,304 Tanzanian residents (by 1994 estimates cited in Rutinwa 1996:297). Under these conditions, the signs of crisis were incontrovertible: massive food shortages, infrastructural damage, security risks, ecological destruction, and severe disruptions of the social service infrastructure (Rwegasira 1995; Rutinwa 1996). A number of these conditions were aggravated or directly caused by humanitarian assistance delivery mechanisms. While the work of the UNHCR, and those organizations working with it, is meant to be "humanitarian. . . and of an entirely non-political character" (UNHCR 1996), the material impact of their aid, and the resultant political-economic by-products, suggest that this is not so.

Lastly, in spite of its multi-ethnic character and large migrant population, Tanzania has exhibited an uncharacteristically high level of social harmony and political stability (see Haas, forthcoming). For present purposes, this consistency helps to control for ethno-regional differences, shifting regimes and leadership, and variations in formal institutional arrangements. That said, there are growing debates about citizenship and inclusion in Tanzania (see Heilman 1998). Although largely spawned by concerns about Asian and European businesses controlling cherished resources during economic liberalization, there has been an escalation of xenophobia throughout the country. These debates are built on long-standing concerns over who is entitled to Tanzanian citizenship and about the country’s relationships with its neighbors. An upocoming presidential election is only likely to increase further the salience of these controversies. While these are certainly complicating factors in undertaking the proposed research, they do speak to the importance of these concerns in the political lives of Tanzanian citizens. Moreover, these significant economic, political, and institutional changes are still relatively small by African standards, making Tanzania as good a place as any to uncover how the behavior of actors associated with refugee-related crises has transformed patterns of authority relations.

Research Design

This project’s research design is informed by two primary concerns: (1) developing a concrete set of analytical ‘instruments’ with which to identify micro-level indicators of a community’s mode of authority relations; and (2) providing a specific agenda and justification for site selection. Given the focus on historical contingency and the value placed on perceptions, I maintain that the only effective research strategy is one that employs an eclectic tool box and a willingness to accept the epistemological importance of a wide variety of data. Attempting to reconcile the sometime contradictory stories offered by such a broad range of data can in itself expose important facets of the past (and present) that would otherwise have overlooked. In adopting such an outlook, this project takes particular inspiration from Moore’s (1975) eclectic and pragmatic approach to social scientific inquiry and finds validation in Scheper-Hughes (1992) self-explanatory notion of a ‘good-enough’ ethnography. While the information I collect will inevitably be inconsistent, as the researcher it is my task to string together histories of debates, triumphs, coalitions, initiatives and meanings into a single persuasive account.

Indicators of Authority

Modes of authority, as unsettled social products of complex histories, are remarkably resistant to careful empirical analysis. The absence of ‘hard’ data on state activities and social conditions makes such inquiry even more challenging. As social constructions, we must evaluate modes of authority on two fronts: first, by examining the ways in which they structure behavior and interactions, and, second, by documenting the attitudes and beliefs of those involved in these relationships. What follows is a series of dimensions and indicators that will help to evaluate and characterize configurations of authority relationships based on attitudes and behaviors. Where possible, these points have been taken directly from other sources for purposes of expediency and comparability. This 'borrowing' may also help to expedite the refinement of question wording while ensuring a certain degree of measurement validity. As indicated in the brief explanations, most of these indicators require analysis at multiple levels to make analytical space for all the relevant actors. Where appropriate (and possible), I intend to collect data on international actors (or their local proxies), state agencies, regional institutions, and their dealings with community level participants. At the local level, I will attempt to speak with long-term residents and, if possible, with refugees or representatives of the refugee community.

The following six indicators for evaluating authority are liberal adaptations from Eckstein and Gurr (1975). They provide a general set of variables on which to collect data for comparison. Although originally proposed as a means of collecting quantitative measurements, assigning numeric values to these categories is likely to introduce an undue level of arbitrariness. That many of these indicators may be expected to always co-vary, further limits their use in quantitative analysis. They do, nonetheless, provide a guideline for qualitative inquiry.

  • Directiveness: As noted, the relationships between states and citizens (or residents) vary along many dimensions. Directiveness speaks to the degree to which a non-state actor may operate outside the direction of an official superior (i.e., the level of individual or group discretion). This dimension can be divided into three further sub-categories: (1) what is covered by systems of regulation; (2) the supervisory strategies and structures employed by superiors; and (3) how much discretion an ostensible subordinate may exercise without fear of sanction (the ‘sanction threshold’). Data on this indicator speaks explicitly to the degree of disengagement. Where, for whatever reason, a system of formal or informal regulation is noticeably absent or restricted, the degree to which a local community is incorporated into a national system must be said to be remarkably low. An elaborate system of regulations, whether adhered to or not, suggests an effort on the part of one party or the other to engage. A condition in which a subordinate exercises free will without sanction in a formally elaborate system of regulations suggests that one or the other party has de facto disengaged.
  • Participation: Participation is taken to be the degree to which those living within a community (or under a given mode of authority) are involved in a set of formally prescribed objectives and guidelines and the degree and manner to which a given individual or sub-group attempts to influence these objectives and regulations. Further data may include the particular ways in which participation is structured and exercised. At the group level, one might look for collective organizations of representation; the frequency and nature of these formal or informal organizations’ dealings with officials; the number and demands of protest activities; and the proclivity to use various forms of resistance, ranging from foot-dragging, to sabotage, and outright terrorism (see also Crozier 1964; Scott 1986).

    Other forms of participation include direct conversations between individuals, the presence (or absence) of formal or informal grievance channels (an ombudsman, for example), and public voting, lobbying, or running for elected office. Less direct forms involve letter-writing, newspaper op-eds and editorials (or in Tanzania, poems), petitions, or civic or social appeal processes. Anonymous letter-writing or secret ballot voting are among the most impersonal forms of participation.

    High levels of personal participation and low levels of resistance may be taken to as an indicator of normative engagement and may help to explain the emergence of convergent goals. Where participation is undertaken anonymously, one might expect that this is done from fear of reprisals (the presence of a coercive apparatus). Where participation is structured largely around material exchange, co-optive mechanisms may be at work. Extremely low levels of participation suggest disengagement.

  • Responsiveness, as the label implies, speaks to the effectiveness of participation: the degree to which superiors modify their behavior as demanded by their subordinates. When studied in the context of demand articulation it may, moreover, indicate how central formal procedures are to the substantive relations among various actors and groups. Where responses are achieved through informal means, identifying these channels will reveal important social ‘nodes’ and power-brokers. Responsiveness also encompasses how issues are defined, which demands and response options are considered, the timing and nature of the response (especially when compared to the demands), and the use of sanctions against those who do not cooperate. Within the typology outlined in earlier sections, the study of responsiveness is a central indicator of normative authority (a productive, if occasionally conflictive, engagement based on agreed upon goals and means), or whether coercion or co-optation has carried the day.

    Responsiveness relates to my typology in a number of ways. Like the previous indicators, responsiveness provides some understanding of the degree to which various actors are engaged and the nature of that engagement. More significantly, however, responsiveness points to the level of institutional capacity on the part of relevant agencies. Where response options are either extremely limited or delayed, capacity is low. A high level of institutional capacity is present if state organizations are able to recognize, structure, and respond to demands in ways that are mutually satisfying to the parties involved.

  • Compliance is the frequency with which members of the political community respond positively to the demands or imperatives of their ostensible superiors (or vice versa). These responses range on a continuum from submissiveness to indifference and opposition, and ending in outright confrontation. For further elaboration of how to evaluate compliance, please refer to Appendix Three. As with responsiveness, studying compliance provides evidence of the primary means through which interactions occur. Following Arendt’s logic, the very fact that superiors must issue repeated and explicit demands suggests an absence of agreement on the means and ends of public policy.
  • Distance is a highly subjective category meant to capture the perceived capacity of both subordinates and superiors. For present purposes, these categories include a variety of social actors: citizens, refugees, IGOs, NGOs, and state actors. Data will help to chart patterns of institutional and personal relationships, and suggest where people are likely to turn to articulate their demands or desires. An index of distance may be comprised of questions about trustworthiness, performance expectations, or evaluation of past actions.

    Because authority is taken to be a subjective, social phenomenon, the perception of distance ranks among the most important, if intractable, indicators. A perception of a bungling state on the part of local residents is, for example, very unlikely to suggest a high degree of institutional capacity or the presence of convergent goals. The converse position is, similarly, unlikely to indicate the presence of a highly coercive system of rule.

  • Proximity captures the frequency of interaction among social actors. Where distance captures the feelings of the actors involved, this indicator gauges material interactions. While this may contribute to a sense of distance, this need not be the case. It is, for example, possible for a citizen to feel a close tie to a state actor when in fact the two rarely interact (the inverse, of course, holds true as well). In many ways, this indicator supplements distance by helping to describe past and extant constellations of interests and actors. It may, moreover, provide empirical data (e.g., how many times an individual interacted with Agency X) that can then be compared with perceptions (e.g., how this individual feels about Agency X). In making such comparisons, it will be possible to begin to identify sources of changing attitudes and actions.

    Understanding proximity provides yet further descriptive data on the level of engagement. It can, moreover, provide indications of institutional capacity. A state agency that, for example, is rarely present would be incapable of responding to particular demands.31

These six dimensions of authority will be complemented by Jessop’s (1990) outline for characterizing the political configurations at a national level. His work draws particular attention to variations - geographic and temporal - in both formal and behavioral/strategic aspects involved in these patterns of asymmetric and symmetric arrangements. At a formal level, attention to the roles of various political parties and legislated representative arrangements and structures. As a corollary, one must note the various ways in which the state seeks to influence or structure civil action (see also Mann 1984). To understand the formation of ‘state preferences’ or interests, attention must also be paid to the internal organization of state structures, particularly personnel policies (selection, training, and advancement), which provide strong indications of the locus of power within the state.32 Efforts in this regard will be largely limited to those national level agencies operating in the region under investigation.

At the behavioral and strategic level, there are three important questions that I must attempt to resolve. First, who comprises the social bases of state power; who provides necessary inputs and seeks to use the state’s institutions and social resources. (Who is the ‘audience’, in Lincoln’s terms, or the players of our metaphorical card game.) Second, what strategy does the state take to ensure real and perceived unity; what are its coordinating strategies and means of compliance? These strategies speak directly to the coercive or co-optive nature of intra and inter-agency relations and may further help to explain bureaucratic behavior. Third, what are the discourses employed to help legitimize both state institutions and actions? The nature of these discourses both constrain and enable state actors while also providing important information on the current salience of past events and memories (see also Eyoh 1998). Moreover, understanding the salience of particular discourses and symbology may provide indication of normative engagement, a phenomenon built to some degree on shared values.

Collecting data on the dimensions discussed above involves looking at specific social spheres and instruments of communication and influence. Although the relationships between social and state actors are too complex and varied to be catalogued comprehensively, particular forms of relationships are likely to be particularly significant. What follows are four areas that the social science literature suggests are likely to be particularly fertile in revealing such information:

  • Law: Where normative engagement exists, one expects the courts to be relatively more involved in settling disputes among state and social actors. The predominant use of extra-legal mechanisms for the settlement of disputes is, conversely, a powerful indicator of disengagement or non-engagement. Adherence to the rule of law may enable this data to be used for collateral studies on the consolidation of Tanzania’s nascent multi-party democracy (see O’Donnell 1997). Lawi’s (1997) work speaks of how courts have structured and been structured by social forces, helping to formally draw lines around what is ‘politically’ significant. More practically, his study speaks to the availability of longitudinal data (back to the British colonial period) held at local and district courts.
  • Tax Collection and the Size of the Informal Economy: The degree to which persons adhere to tax laws or commercial regulations may indicate both the government’s institutional effectiveness and the degree of legitimacy the general population accords to the state actors (see Chazan 1989; Haas 1997). Although data on both tax-collection and informal activity must not be assumed to be entirely reliable, especially for the past, previously published sources suggest that such information may be used to infer for underlying patterns of economic activity and compliance with formal commercial guidelines (Maliyamkono 1990; Tripp 1994). Time spent in situ will help to uncover major sources of informal earnings (e.g., gem smuggling, illegal cross-border trade, drug sales). While it will be impossible to quantify the magnitude of these exchanges, even casual inquiries into household spending patterns may help to identify the proportion of a given family’s income that is derived from such sources.
  • Alternative Institutions: Throughout much of the developing world, institutions and services previously undertaken under the auspices of the state have been de facto privatized due to government incapacity or, oddly enough, government initiative (Bayart 1993; Bayart et al 1999; Gibbon 1995; Abrahams 1987). In parts of Tanzania, local communities have taken it upon themselves to provide many functions ranging from schools to an informal police force. At times, they have gone so far as to collect taxes from the population (see Roemer and Jones 1991, Grindle 1996; Abrahams 1987; Gibbon 1995). The presence of large networks of alternative institutions, especially when such networks are socially legitimized, may, given the particularities of the site, indicate a high degree of disengagement (Bayart et al, 1999; Hibou 1999; Blok 1974). Alternatively, they may be closely woven into the state through quasi-NGOs (QUANGOS), clientalistic ties, or other forms of social relations.
  • Education and Language: Accepting that authority is a relationship exercised extensively through speech (Fillingham 1993:12), the degree to which the schools are used to reinforce common language and political values becomes a powerful indicator as to where authority lies. It may also suggest how dominant discourses are being challenged and rhetorically restructured through the teachers’ adaptation of state-sanctioned curricula to meet what they perceive to be local interests and historically determined needs. Ideally, studies of education would involve regular attendance in the classroom. Given other demands, such techniques will be supplanted by conversations with teachers about what they teach and why, and by comparing these findings with what government officials say they believe instructors are or should be teaching. It may also prove fruitful to speak with students (particularly elder students), about the content and impressions of their civics classes. These findings may, in turn, be compared with the lessons learned by their parents.

    As a corollary to this focus on language in education, where local newspapers or periodicals exist, it may be possible to undertake a textual analysis to determine who or what is identified as the source of a given problem, who is expected to provide the solution, and the terms in which various actors are characterized (Balibar 1991:98; Haas 1997). While it is unlikely that proper newspapers may circulate in many of the rural areas in which I intend to work, Mission or Church newsletters may provide a functional equivalent.


I intend to divide my twelve months in Tanzania into three periods. The first two months of my stay (September-January) will be spent in Dar es Salaam undertaking three important tasks. The first is to elaborate my understanding of the specific historical and political contexts within which the refugee crises occurred. Such an effort will involve time spent working with faculty members of the University of Dar es Salaam,33 and exploring the national archives and other available historical, demographic, and economic data for Western Tanzania. The second task involves semi-structured interviews with officials within the economic, security, and social welfare ministries and with those involved directly in negotiating and planning for refugee assistance (particularly with Ministry of Home Affairs staff). During these conversations, I will ask a series of questions to collect data on the six dimensions of authority discussed in the following section (see Appendix Three). Through these discussions, I will acquire relevant demographic and financial data and also elite perceptions of the challenges and demands of providing refugee assistance. They will, furthermore, help to identify and refine issues of likely concern to residents of the refugee-affected regions. The third task is to organize and undertake interviews with members of the UNHCR and the partner organizations charged with overseeing camp management in Kigoma. I expect my interviews with agency personnel to provide both key contacts in the field as well as critical insights into the negotiations among the international donor community, state actors, and residents (including refugees) in Kigoma.

During the second period (December-April), I will relocate to Kigoma (Kasulu district) to balance elite perspectives with inquiries into the popular and local bases of state authority. While in this region, I will undertake my investigations through interviews with relevant officials, agency employees, interviews and an attitudinal survey. The loosely structured interviews with members of the host population will be geared towards gauging material changes that have taken place in their lives over the past fifteen to twenty years; evaluating attitudes towards and interactions with various representatives of the local and national government; and collecting their perceptions of other ethnic and regional groups living in Tanzanian (i.e., their sense of national identity). Appendix Two provides offers a set of sample questions in the form of a survey. As I will be unable to collect sufficient data for quantitative analysis from this ‘survey’, these questions will primarily serve as a guide for more detailed qualitative questioning. This lack of quantitative data will be partially overcome by partially replicating a survey first conducted among secondary school students in 1967. With relatively limited expenditure of time and energy, this survey will me to collect data from hundreds of individuals in a form that can be analyzed diachronically (against the 1967 data) and geographically (between the two regions surveyed).

During the third phase of my research (May-September), I will attempt to replicate the research methods employed in Kigoma in Mpwapwa, a rural district with the Dodoma region. Although far less peripheral geographically than Kasulu, the Mpwapwa has remains relatively marginalized in both political and economic terms. Standards of living are comparable to Kigoma’s (in terms of income, life-expectancy, and rates of education), and preliminary interviews suggest that the regions’ political histories are relatively similar with the exception of the refugee population. For these reasons, Dodoma can effectively be considered a ‘control’ against with to view Kigoma’s historical processes of ‘state-formation’. In doing so, it should become possible to isolate the influence the presence of refugees and humanitarian assistance has had on the configuration of authority relations.

Although the time I spend in each of these communities will be relatively short by the anthropological standards, I have judged that the analytical gains of comparative research more than compensate for any detail that is lost. By employing a pair of Tanzanian research assistants at various times throughout the process, I should also be able to accelerate the collection process and improve the quality and quantity of data.34 In the interest of adapting to both variables and circumstances outside of my control (e.g., weather, political instability in neighboring countries), I do, however, intend to maintain a certain degree of flexibility in both my scheduling and choice of villages.

Theoretical Implications

As noted in the introduction, this project’s theoretical ambitions extend beyond documentation and ‘thick description’. In making these claims, I recognize that my eclectic methodology and willingness to employ inductive reasoning may raise epistemological questions regarding any broad claims. Somewhat ironically, my small challenge to prevailing political science methodologies (particularly ahistorical formal modeling) may serve as this project’s most significant contribution. Incremental, deductive studies may, after all, mean little if they are driven by misdirected questions or are unable to incorporate truly significant data. Beyond this, I endeavor to make contributions to four general realms of inquiry:35

(1) Practical Policy Guidelines: Developing an understanding of the long term political implications of refugee assistance is a necessary guide for aid organizations and practitioners who wish to avoid provoking hostility and distrust from host governments and resident communities (Ogata 1999: Seaman 1995:20; Keen 1992:69).36 With international humanitarian and development assistance increasingly under threat from policy makers and academics, such insights may be central in finding suitable and sustainable means of protecting one of the world’s most vulnerable populations (see McNamara 1998; Alston 1995; ActionAid 1995:10; Marrus 1985:1);

(2) Analytical Integration of Disparate Social Phenomenon: This proposed research will take a necessary step in integrating the phenomenon of mass human displacement into the study of contemporary politics and political economy (see Gordenker 1987; Loescher and Monahan 1989; Bramwell 1988; Zetter 1991; Harrell-Bond 1986; Allen 1994:8; Chambers 1993). This consolidation will go beyond documenting the experiences of a specific migrant population or dismissively criticizing the international aid ‘regime’ (Maren 1997). Such inquires may provide crucial insights into the operations of political processes at a more abstract scale (see Black 1993:9);

(3) The Nature of State-Society Relations: If there is one area in which I can claim to make an incremental contribution, it is in two under-explored subjects in political science: First, the nature and social construction of state-society relationships and dynamics of state authority (Blok 1974; Friedland 1991; O’Donnell 1997; Shue 1988; Mitchell 1991). Second, inevitable variations in the meaning and form of the national state throughout a bounded territorial entity. In demonstrating such variations, this project will further evidence the existence of multiple communities and citizenries within the national polity (Mamdami 1996; Marx 1998). It may, moreover, help to elucidate discussions about the future of the nation-state in countries outside Western Europe (Harriss 1995:3), especially those faced with seemingly overwhelming pressures from extra-territorial actors.37

(4) Historiography and Rural Transformation: Through an inquiry into the construction of state authority and the configuration of governance, this project will evidence the need to abandon the unilinear and teleological patterns of economic and political change that have too long served as the historiographical foundations for contemporary political science. In identifying a previously unexplored impetus for rural transformation in the form of refugees and humanitarian assistance, and by charting its differential impacts, this project also has significant implications for related studies of ‘globalization’ and the interrelationships between local and international actors and ideas (Bayart 1999; Chabal 1996; Adedeji 1993; Wells 1996; see also Greider 1997:15; Gupta 1998).

The value and authority of this work must, of course, be ultimately determined by its audience. If nothing else, this historical inquiry will contribute to an evolving and expanding ‘national biography’ of Tanzania.

Appendix One


The two heavy arrows represent the configuration of authority in a given location. While these patterns are constantly dynamic (much like a river which slowly reshapes its banks), this graphic is meant to represent how crises can induce a rapid and drastic transformation of these patterns (like a river jumping its banks during a flood). The crisis here is suggested by the fact that only one of the arrows has been directly influenced by refugees and humanitarian assistance.

The lack of arrows among the boxes is an intentional effort to demonstrate the inter-constitutive nature of these relationships. Positing causality or dominance of one sphere over the other without historical substantiation may do more to obscure than to elucidate the relevant dynamics of these processes.

Draft Questionnaire for Citizens 38

Good evening/day/etc. My name is _______________ I am working on a project to understand the changing lives of people who live in various parts of Tanzania. This is not a test nor an examination, and the questions do not have a 'correct' or 'incorrect' answer. We would like to know your own ideas about these questions. You should tell us honestly what you think. Your responses will be kept confidential and will help us to develop a better understanding of the needs and ideas of people living in your area. I do not work for the government of a development agency and I can promise you no compensation of any kind for your participation except my appreciation

To be filled by Interviewer

1. Interviewers Name:
2. Sex of respondent (circle one) 1. Female 2. Male

Demographic Information to be asked to respondent

3. Which village are you from ? ____________ years

4. How long have you stayed here? ____________ years

5. Did you come here as part of the Ujamaa villagization program?

1. Yes 0. No

If yes, where did you come from? ______________

7. Have you had the opportunity to go to school? (circle one)

Yes 0. No

if yes, what is the highest level you completed (circle one)

1. Less than standard IV

2. Standard IV-VII

3. Forms I-IV

4. Form V-VI

5. Trade or Business School

6. University

7. Post-graduate education

8. What kind of schools did you attend (circle all that apply):

1. Govt. Day.

2. Govt. Boarding

4. Private Day

3. Private Boarding

3. Religious Day

3. Religious Boarding

9. Did your parents go to school? If so, do you remember what level they finished?

10. What is you age? (if don't know, interviewer estimate)

1. 18-25 years

2. 26-35 years

3. 36-45 years

4. 46-55 years

5. 56-65 years

6. 66 and above

11. What is your religious affiliation?

1. No religion

2. Muslim

3. Hindu

4. Catholic

5. Protestant

denomination: ___________

6. Other religion:

mention: ______________?

7. DK/RA

12. To which ethnic group do you belong?

13. Have you registered to vote?

14. Why/Why not?

15. Do you or your children have birth certificates?

1. I do

2. I do but my children do not

3. I do not, but my children do

0. No

16. Do you have an idenity card or anything else you use to prove your idenity? (mention all)

17. Do you think that everyone should be required to carry or have an idenity card?

18. Why?

Now I have a few questions about Tanzanian and the people who live here

19 * Here is a different type of question. Speaking generally, what 5 things about the country that you are most proud of as a Tanzania?

0. Nothing

1. a

2. DK/RA

20. Have these changed over the past ten years? How?

21. * Many people say that even a good thing has some unpleasant aspects. Can you mention any five thing which in your view are unpleasant about Tanzania?

0. Nothing

1. a

2. DK/RA

22. Have these changed over the past ten years? If so, in what ways?

23. * Can you please mention any five things about the political situation in Tanzania that you are most proud of?

0. Nothing

1. a

2. DK/RA

24. Have these changed over the past ten years? How?

25. * And what Five things would say are unpleasant about the political situation in Tanzania

0. Nothing

1. a

2. DK/RA

26. Have these changed over the past ten years?

27. Which statement do you agree with more?

1) Individuals should take more responsibility for providing for themselves

2) The government should take more responsibility to ensure that everyone is provided for

28. Of course, we all hope that there will not be a war, but if it were to come to that, would you be willing to fight for your country?

1 Yes

2 No

9 Don't know

29. Could you list what you think are the main tasks the government should be doing?

1. (mention up to 5)

2. DK/RA

30. If the government is not doing this things, who is?

31. * In your view, does the government help the people to meet their basic needs? Would you say it helps a great deal, or a little, or never.

1. Helps a great deal? ________

2. Helps a little? ________

3. Never Helps? ________

4. Other? (why?) ________

5. DK/RA

32. * What about national interests? Would you say the government provides much protection, or little protection or does not care to protected national interests?

1. Much protections? ________

2. Little protection? ________

3. Does not care? ________

4. Other? ________

5. DK/RA

33. Following the death of Mwalimu Nyerere's, many people have been speaking about what it means to be a good raia or wananchi wa Tanzania. How would you describe a good citizen?

34. Generally speaking, are there certain groups or people living in the country who you belive are not good citizens?

35. * How can you personally participate in the affairs of the local government?

1. Record as stated ______________

2. DK/RA

36. * Have you ever done anything to try to influence a local decision taken by local government?

(a) Let's start with your village/ward/street

1. Yes

2. No

3. Other

4. DK

(a) What about at the district level

1. Yes

2. No

3. Other

4. DK

37. If yes then ask What did you do? Was this your first time?

38. * Government affairs are conducted by different ministries or agencies. Can you please mention FIVE ministries which you know exist? (Write in order mention)

1. _______________________________

2. _______________________________

3. _______________________________

4. _______________________________

5. _______________________________

39. There are also many private and international organizations working in Tanzania. Can you please mention FIVE organizations of this type that you think are active in your area?

1. _______________________________

2. _______________________________

3. _______________________________

4. _______________________________

5. _______________________________

40. * And I will appreciate it very much if you can give me the names of (A) Five Members of Parliament and (B) Five Councilors whom you know.

Parliament Councilors

1. _______________________________ 1. _______________________________

2. _______________________________ 2. _______________________________

3. _______________________________ 3. _______________________________

4. _______________________________ 4. _______________________________

5. _______________________________ 5. _______________________________

41. * Do you follow the accounts of political and governmental affairs? Would you say you follow them regularly, from time to time, or never?

1. Follow regularly

2. Follow from time to time

3. Never

4. Other

5. DK/RA

If so, what are your sources of news?

I am now going to read a number of activities, will you tell me how you feel about them? Please tell me whether you think they are always acceptable, sometimes acceptable, rarely acceptable or never accetable. acceptable, , a scale of 1-10, Are the acceptable, alright

42. Claiming government benefits which you are not entitled to:

1. always 2. sometimes 3. rarely 4. never (DK = 0)

43. Avoiding a fare on public transport:

1. always 2. sometimes 3. rarely 4. never (DK = 0)

44. Cheating on tax if you have the chance:

1. always 2. sometimes 3. rarely 4. never (DK = 0)

45. Buying something you knew was stolen:

1. always 2. sometimes 3. rarely 4. never (DK = 0)

46. Officials accepting a bribe in the course of their duties:

1. always 2. sometimes 3. rarely 4. never (DK = 0)

47. Fighting with the police if you believe they are doing something you disagree with:

1. always 2. sometimes 3. rarely 4. never (DK = 0)

I would now like to ask about some of the groups you belong to.

48. * Are you a member now of any organizations other than political parties? These can include churches, development organizations, tribal groups, self-help groups, recreation organization 1. Yes how many?

2. No

3. Other

4. DK/RA

49 * To what groups do you belong?

50. * Will you be kind enough to mention to me only five of the most important benefits you get from your membership in these organizations?

1. Benefits


2. DK/RA

51. If you wanted to complain about how something was being done around you (at work or in the community), where would you direct your complaints.

1. My boss

2. Workers' union

3. Political Party

4. Court of law

5. No place to complain

6. Other

7. DK/RA

52. * If you did complain, would it do any good?

1. Yes (why?) ___________________________

2. No (why?)____________________________

3. Other _______________________________

4. DK/RA ______________________________

53. * Have you ever made such a complaint ?

1. Yes

2. No

3. Other

4. DK/RA ______________________________

if yes, could you describe the situation?

We are almost done, I would like to ask you about your life and how it has changed over 10 or 20 years.

54. Are you the primary wage earner in your family?

if no, ask what does the primary wage earner's occupation ________________________

if yes, what is your primary occupation?

55. Has this changed over the last 10 years?

56. Over the last 20?

57. How has your business changed in the last years?

58. Many people get what they need by trading the things they grow on their farms (vegetables, animals, etc) or by working in exchange for these goods. Other people sell their products for money and then buy what they need in shops using money. Which do you do more often?

60. If you sell your products, to whom do you normally sell them?

61. Do you use money more now than you did five or ten years ago?

62. Do you employ labor . Yes 0. No

if yes, how many ________________________

63. if yes, are they Tanzanians 1. Yes 2. No

64. if yes, do you pay them in cash?

65. In addition to their primary job, many people are involved in other activities to earn money. Are there other activities in which you participate?

66. Have these changed over the last 10 years?

67. Do you expect your worklife to change in the next 10 years?

68. The government is making an increased effort to collect taxes to pay for development programs and services in this region. Have you noticed this?

1. Yes 2. No

69. Do you think most of the people in your community pay taxes?

1. Yes 2. No

70. Apart from your business, what changes have happened in your family and community in the last 15 years.

Why do you think these changes have occurred?

71. Do (did) you and your parents share any of the following?


1 Attitudes towards religion

1 Moral attitudes

1 Social attitudes

1 Political attitudes

1 None of these

1 Don't know

1 Attitudes towards foreigners

1 Attitudes towards refugees

72. Many people have said that crime has increased in Tanzania over the past few years. Do you believe this is true?

73. What should be done to control crime?

74. If someone broke into your house and stole from you (money or other goods), what would you do if you thought you knew who the thief was? What about if you didn't know him?

75. I am now going to read out a list of items. Can you tell me if you or someone with whom you live has this item. Can you also indicate if you have purchased or attained this item in the last five years (circle if in last five years).

Bicycle Yes No

Radio Yes No

Sewing Machine Yes No

Refrigerator Yes No

Freezer Yes No

Television Yes No

Motor bicycle Yes No

Workshop Yes No

A farm Yes No

Livestock Yes No

Car Yes No

House Yes No


How do you think the local Tanzanian population feels at this time about the refugees (Sympathetic, Acrimony? Pitiful? Resentful)?

a) How do you think the local Tanzanian population feels at this time about Wafadhili (aid personnel).

b) Are these people Tanzanian or Wazungu? Are there any differences between them?

c) Do the Tanzanians work for the government?

Have you benefitted in any way from the reufgees being here?

From what you can tell, how do people in this area see the refugees?

a) as Foreigners of a particular nationality

b) as refugees

c) as kinsmen/women

d) as Tanzanians

e) as Africans

f) as immigrants

g) it does not matter to them.

How do the refugees see themselves? _________

Would it be okay to give refugees citizenship in this country? ______ (why)

From what you can tell, how do the people in this areas see the Wafadhili.

a) as foreigners of a particular nationality

b) as government contractors

c) as businessmen

d) as Tanzanians

e) as Wazungu

f) as immigrants

g) it does not matter to them.

How do you think the Wafadhili (aid workers) see themselves? _________

Have you found that a lot of conflict and negative feelings exist between the refugees and local populations? Yes/No

Have you found that a lot of conflict and negative feelings exist between the Wafadhili and local populations? Yes/No

Have you found that a lot of conflict and negative feelings exist between the government and local populations? Yes/No

How do you think the coming of refugees and assistance personnel have affected this society's:

a) social life _________

b) political life _________

c) economic life _________

e) ecological/environmental life _________

f) cultural life _________

Do you have any additional comments about the refugees? _________

Do you have any additional comments about the Wafadhili? _________

Do you feel your view of the Tanzanian government has changed as a result of the refugee presence? _________

Appendix Three:

Indicators of Compliance

The following cues provide guidance in the evaluation of opposition to superior’s commands. While many of these make more sense within clearly bounded formal organizations, they may be readily adapted to studies of asymmetric relations more generally.

  • reluctance or hostility in implementation;
  • responses occur only with direct supervision;
  • subordinates allow external factors to halt implementation;
  • subordinates interpret directives literally;
  • subordinates stop task for want of absolutely precise instructions when they need not wait;
  • subordinates deliberately violate norms;
  • subordinates refuses to comply, even at some loss;
  • subordinates actively sabotage implementation.

The following cues suggest mild to intense allegiance. For present purposes, intense allegiance is likely to coincide with normative engagement. Disengagement, however, is unlikely to be characterized by outward hostility.
  • subordinates respond to directives without direct supervision;
  • subordinates carry out directives more carefully than requires;
  • subordinates respond to new directive promptly and with enthusiasm;
  • subordinates repeatedly respond to standing orders in implementing a task, even when not required;
  • subordinates act independently to achieve the objective of directives even when there are no visible rewards for their doing so;
  • subordinates encourage others to comply and bring pressure to bear on those who do not, even when there are little rewards for such behavior;
  • subordinates comply with directives even at considerable personal sacrifice and for no visible gain

The following clues indicate the importance and attitudes superiors have towards their ostensible subordinates. Such indicators speak to the importance of a given relationship, the necessity to use sanction, as well as the particular behavioral predilections of the actor under study.
  • superiors issue directives but make no use of sanctions to ensure compliance;
  • superiors make no change in directives issued and sanctions despite change in compliance rate;
  • when punctilious subordinates call violations to superior’s attention, nothing is done;
  • superiors issue directives and supervise compliance, but do not use sanctions;
  • when subordinates comply, superiors modify the directives to require less effort or less precise compliance strategies;
  • superiors exert considerable effort in supervision and ensure compliance even when costs are high.


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1 This document was written as a prospectus for dissertation research that has already begun. Apart from various editorial changes, I have resisted the powerful impulse to manipulate the text so that it more closely accords with my preliminary findings.

2 Jessop, Bob. 1990. State Theory: Putting the Capitalist State in its Place. University Park: The Pennsylvania Sate University Press: 261.

3 In 1998 alone, over twenty-two million people had crossed international borders to escape persecution, famine, or violence. In 1990, UNICEF dedicated only 4 percent of its budget to emergencies. Four years later, this number had risen to almost 30 percent (Harriss 1995:12).

4 As the result of voluntary and involuntary repatriation, this number had dropped to 330,000 officially registered refugees by the end of 1998 (UNHCR 1998). While this may indicate that the immediate crisis is waning, the long-term implications for the affected-communities remain no less important.

5 For discussions on related themes of crisis and state-building, see Silberman 1993 and Tilly 1975.

6 Such a view counters both modernization and many post-modernist perspectives which posit that, given the chance, the agents of the state would ‘penetrate’, infiltrate, or discipline all aspects of society.

7 It should be noted that differs from corruption - the private use of public funds - in that it is at the heart of a system, not in violation of it.

8 Host populations resentment towards refugees who are seen as the privileged recipients of aid dollars and social services is a relatively common phenomenon. At times this manifests itself in protests, at others in outright hostility.

9 For a more complete résumé of these debates, see Joel Migdal (1997). As a testament to the acrimony and hostility associated with the campaign to ‘Bring the State Back In’, see Almond (1990); Friedland and Alford (1991); Mitchell (1991). For the evolution of this discussion, it may be useful to refer to Migdal (1988, 1994) and Evans (1985, 1995, 1997).

10 Although not necessarily concerned with the ‘state’ per se, both Marxist and Pluralist thinkers have been regularly faulted for adopting this rationalistic and instrumental perspective. In the most vulgar terms, Marxist thinkers have often viewed the state as either ‘the executive committee of the bourgeois’ (Marx 1950) or, for those who grant it some autonomy, as the agent of global capitalism (Wallerstein 1974). Pluralists have been criticized for seeing the state as something of a ‘cash register’ totaling up societal preferences and executing policy for the good of all (Krasner 1989).

11 The metonymic fallacy - speaking of the state when one is really referring to only a small part of a conglomeration of actors - is particularly common in discussions of international relations where the will of the state is often identified with a single human actor (e.g., Madeline Albright, Slobadon Milosevic).

12 For an Africanist version of this vision, see Bayart’s (1993) conception of a rhizome state. He chooses this metaphor to indicate the state’s similarity to a tangled underground system. The system originated in the colonial period, when leaders insecure in power and weak in resources, built a complex system of semi-formal and informal networks. While these networks help to ensure the continued presence of recognizable state institutions, they are seen to be sources of economic and political struggles. Occasionally these struggles reach the surface, revealing to the public "the balance of forces and alliances of the moment" (Hibou 1999:90).

13 The legacy of this reasoning is clearly visible in Mitchell’s distinctly non-Marxian work (1991).

14 This also helps to overcome the Gramscian obsession with hegemony and the control of society exercised by intellectuals (see Sassoon 1982).

15 Foucault's conception of history as a series of contingencies with no determinate end, directly counters both modernization and Marxian teleologies. The philosophical differences in these respective historiographies is rooted in Marxian and Modernization Hegelianism, in which one discrete system of organization is seen to overcome and destroy another, and the Nietzschean base of Foucauldian thinking, which may be metaphorically represented by an infinitely branching tree of possible trajectories and outcomes. Which branch is followed results from chronologically and geographically specific contingencies and strategies. For discussion of the particular ways in which I intend to undertake a ‘genealogy’ of the state in rural Tanzania, please refer to subsequent sections of this proposal.

Although writing from a substantially different normative base, the work of Habermas (1992), particularly his focus on the development of a ‘public sphere’, complements Foucault’s historical and sociological inquiries. While insightful and an effective illustration of the way in which governmentality arose in bourgeois Europe, Habermas’ concepts are too oriented towards European political development to be easily exported elsewhere except for comparative purposes (see Calhoun 1992:7).

16 For arguments regarding the international legal construction of African states see Jackson and Rosberg 1981 (also Werbner 1996; Wallerstein 1974). For an articulation of the position that African states are little more than residuals from the colonial period, see Ihonvebere 1997, Ayittey 1997; Hapgood 1970.

17 See Arendt’s (1958) outline of this position.

18 Although Weber’s discussion of authority is the basis for much contemporary work, before Almond’s The Politics of the Developing Areas (1960), "the predominant assumption in the discipline of political science in the United States [had] been that only those structures and functions that can be directly and clearly related to a formal government or party system fall within the ambit of legitimate political inquiry" (Eckstein 1975:415).

19 Radcliffe-Brown (1957) notes that to be useful and robust, a typology must organize reality in ways that are intuitively and analytically useful. A typology in which all but very exceptional cases fit into one category does not fit this imperative (see also Eckstein 1975:357-8).

20 This conception of authority may also be located in the works of Barnard (1968) and Catlin (1958).

21 Mazrui has argued in this vein suggesting that the economic crisis of the 1980s showed that the Africans states, which could at least be superficially characterized by centralization and authoritarianism, were weak and unable to produce social conformity. In place of authority, what one witnesses was authorization and co-optation (1983:293).

22 The notion of a clearly bounded system is, as discussed later, problematic when on moves from the analysis of a small group of individuals tied by formal structures to larger societal concerns. As Scott and others note, it is often inaccurate to analyze even a single organization without consideration of relationships extending beyond its formal boundaries (1981).

23 For evidence of such reversals at a more micro-level see Rochlin et al's almost ethnographic account of a US aircraft carrier. They demonstrate that in crisis, both the decision making premises and strategies flow not from the top down, but rather from ground level actors up to superiors.

24 The greater the homogeneity of authority patterns within a system, the more effective it was expected to be.

25 The first two lines from Oscar Wilde’s (1948) The Importance of Being Earnest are illustrative in this regard. The butler, Lane, is arranging afternoon tea. The sound of a piano is heard in adjoining rooms. Algernon, one of the main characters and Lane’s superior, enters.

Algernon: Did you hear what I was playing, Lane?

Lane: I didn’t think it polite to listen, sir?

It is just these kinds of rhetorical challenges and subversion, practiced at both the individual and collective level, that Mbembe (1992) suggests reshapes authority relations.

26 The case of the judge also highlights how coercion and normative authority almost necessarily exist concurrently. What is important to note is when coercion must be used (i.e., the limits of normative authority). The 1957 events in Littlerock Arkansas are illustrative in this regard.

27 This is compared to a total population of 30,608,769 (July 1998 est.) (CIA 1999).

28 Despite these repatriations, some 270,000 refugees remained in eight camps between Ngara and Kigoma at the end of 1998 (UNHCR 1998).

29 Most prominent among these debates are questions of whether socialism was viable for Tanzania and, more fundamentally, if African socialism was in fact socialism at all. Others concerned themselves with analyzing the role of Tanzania’s first president and nationalist figurehead Julius K. Nyerere. Perhaps most significant for current purposes is the debate spawned by Hyden’s (1980) work regarding the extent to which the central state had ‘penetrated’ the countryside. While this final question is thematically and empirically related to my study, his ontology and problematic are inappropriate for the discussions at hand.

30 This perspective runs counter to prevailing conceptions of Tanzania as a fully integrated national community. While this may be so relative to other African countries, homogeneity and full incorporation must not be assumed. For further evidence of lack of economic and political integration in Tanzania, see Moore (1986). Her suggestion that such serious disconnections between local and national politics could occur in Kilimanjaro, an area much more central to the political economy of both the colonial and post-colonial regime, augers well for the contention that the western periphery remained relatively autonomous.

Although it has been centuries since the region was truly isolated from a global political economy, the region’s (and the country’s) dependence on foreign trade and investment has historically been extremely limited when compared to that of rural communities in Latin America and parts of South-East Asia (Bunker 1987:15).

31 Leonard’s (1985) discussion of rural extension service employees and their site visits is illustrative in this regard.

32 For examples, see Johnson (1982); Aberbach et al (1981); Schurmann (1966); Verdery (1991b).

33 I especially look forward to collaboration with Professor Mukandala, Chair of the Department of Political Science, who has offered his support and cooperation. In addition to Mukandala, I expect to work with Rutinwa who is on the Faculty of Law at the University.

34 I intend to enlist the services of two Tanzanian research assistants (possibly at different times), one male and one female. In doing so, I hope to render more robust data from my inquiries while countering the effects of my gender and ethnicity on my informants’ responses (see McGovern 1998:311).

35 In addition to these four primary areas, this study may have tangential consequences for a number of different sub-topics within political science including, inter alia: The consolidation of democracy (newly termed ‘consolidology’) under diverse sets of cultural, institutional, and economic conditions (see O’Donnell 1997; Ihonvbere 1997:294; Mamdami 1996; Hagopian 1993; Decalo 1992:8; Huntington 1968); The prospects for developing the institutional infrastructure now assumed to be a prerequisite for economic growth (see World Bank 1997, 1994); The disaggregation and appropriate characterization of the peasantry and peasant politics (Hyden 1980; Scott 1976; Migdal 1975; Popkin 1979; Hobsbawm 1959; Wolf 1966; Anderson 1994).

36 Paraphrasing Clausewitz, Seaman suggests that many countries have come to perceive humanitarianism ‘as the continuation of politics by other means’ (1995:29). Prendergast suggests that while the use of food and aid as a military tool dates back to Sun Tzu’s Art of War. He goes on to argue that the use of multilateral aid (or the perception of its use) for such purposes must be avoided if deaths and the destruction of livelihoods are to be minimized (1996:17).

37 As a result of advanced integration under the auspices of the European Union, much of the literature on the demise of the nation-state has focused on this region.

38 Questions with asterisks are copied from a larger attitudinal survey recently undertaken in Tanzania. The inclusion of these questions will allow for further comparative analysis.