Street Dreams and Hip Hop Barbershops

Street Dreams and Hip Hop Barbershops

Global Fantasy in Urban Tanzania
Brad Weiss
Distribution: World
Publication date: 4/10/2009
Format: paper 280 pages, 29 b&w photos
6.125 x 9.25
ISBN: 978-0-253-22075-2
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For young men in urban Tanzania, barbershops are sites of the struggle to earn a living amid economic crisis. With names like Brooklyn Barber House and Boyz II Men, these workplaces are also nodes in an explosion of popular culture that appropriates images drawn from the global circulation of hip hop music, fashion, and celebrity. Street Dreams and Hip Hop Barbershops grapples with the implications of globalization and neoliberalism for urban youth in Africa today, exploring urban Tanzanians' complex, new ways of understanding their place in the world.

Author Bio

Brad Weiss is Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary. He is author of The Making and Unmaking of the Haya Lived World: Consumption and Commoditization in Everyday Practice and Sacred Trees, Bitter Harvests: Globalizing Coffee in Colonial Northwest Tanganyika and editor of Producing African Futures: Ritual and Reproduction in a Neoliberal Age.


"Dr. Weiss has chosen a very difficult group to study—young men—but also a group about which we urgently need to know much more, since they are increasingly seen, in Africa and elsewhere, as a problem-group that is potentially dangerous. . . . A seminal analysis of the global-local conundrum." —Peter Geschiere, University of Amsterdam

". . . an important ethnography for interpreting the intersection of youth, masculinity, and popular culture. . . .
Street Dreams provides a useful means to understand globalization and neoliberalism, particularly as it affects young men in Africa’s informal economies." —Alex Perullo, Bryant University, AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW , Vol. 52.3 Dec. 2009

"Brad Weiss's ethnography makes a valuable contribution to the body of scholarship that documents and discusses the parts that neoliberal economic policies . . . play in creating gaps between the aspirations of youth and economic realities in Africa." —
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

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Table of Contents


Introduction: Popular Practices and Neoliberal Dilemmas in Arusha

1. Themes and Theories: Popular Culture in Africa and Elsewhere
2. Enacting the Invincible: Youthful Performance in Town
Portraits 1: Bad Boyz Barbers
3. Thug Realism: Inhabiting Spaces of Masculine Fantasy
Portraits 2: Aspiration
4. The Barber in Pain: Consciousness, Affliction, and Alterity
Portraits 3: Uncertain Prospects
5. Gender (In)Visible: Contests of Style
6. Learning from Your Surroundings: Watching Television and Social Participation
7. Chronic Mobb Asks a Blessing: Apocalyptic Hip Hop and the Global Crisis