Government of Development

Government of Development

Peasants and Politicians in Postcolonial Tanzania
Schneider, Leander
Distribution: World
Publication date: 09/17/2014
Format: Paperback 1 map, 19 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01399-6
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Finalist, 2015 African Studies Association Ogot Award

What drives state officials to force development projects on resisting "beneficiary" populations? In his new analysis of the Tanzanian state’s 1960s and 1970s campaign to settle the country's rural population in socialist villages, Leander Schneider traces the discourses and practices that authorized state officials to direct the lives of peasants—by coercive means if necessary. Government of Development shows that the practices constituting this project's mode of government far exceeded political elites’ pursuit of their own narrow interests, the go-to explanation for many accounts of similar instances of authoritarian rule and developmental failures in Africa and beyond.

Author Bio

Leander Schneider is Associate Professor of Political Science at Concordia University.


All students of Africa and of development should read Leander Schneider’s superb analysis of Tanzanian rural policy under Nyerere. First, it sits absolutely atop the mountain of other studies of villagisation by virtue of its empirical mastery and analytical subtlety. Second, it represents a devastating critique of the fatal methodological simplifications that plague much of contemporary social science.Profoundly rich empirical evidence shows villagization’s peculiar, personalized, and self-destructive aspects, soundly based on rare and exceptionally rigorous archival research; it alone makes this book worth reading.Cogent, persuasive, and well-researched, Schneider successfully provides a nuanced and penetrating analysis that is woven into a compelling narrative.No one in recent decades has written with such clarity and care about Tanzania and the rise and decline of its signal "ujamaa vijijini" policy as has Leander Schneider. Here, he views Tanzanian socialism more broadly, and in a suggestive, if controversial, comparative perspective, while also exploring the country’s once bold plans for transformation and their fatally flawed execution.

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Table of Contents


1. The Ruvuma Development Association: Tanzania’s New Model Villages
2. Culture Clash: The Destruction of the Ruvuma Development Association
3. Chronicle of a Failure Foretold: State Officials’ Developmentalist Authority in Action
4. Planning the Future: A Practice and Its Authority-Effects
5. The World of Officials in the Trenches, Potemkin Villages, and Criticism as Treason
6. The Brave Parsimonious World of Materialist-Utilitarian Analysis


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