The Making of the African Road


The Making of the African Road offers an account of the long-distance road in Africa. Being a latecomer to automobility and far from saturated mass mobility, the African road continues to be open for diverging interpretations and creative appropriations. The road regime on the continent is thus still under construction, and it is made in more than one sense: physically, socially, politically, morally and cosmologically. The contributions to this volume provide first-hand anthropological insights into the infrastructural, economic, historical as well as experiential dimensions of the emerging orders of the African road. Contributors are: Kurt Beck, Amiel Bize, Michael Bürge, Luca Ciabarri, Gabriel Klaeger, Mark Lamont, Tilman Musch, Michael Stasik, Rami Wadelnour.
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Biographical Note

Kurt Beck (Prof. Dr.), Chair of Anthropology at the University of Bayreuth, has published mainly on the anthropology of the Sudan. Gabriel Klaeger (Dr.) works at the Institute of Social Anthropology, Goethe University Frankfurt. His PhD thesis is entitled Speed Matters: An Ethnography of a Ghanaian Highway. Michael Stasik (M.A.) works at the Chair of Anthropology, University of Bayreuth. His PhD thesis is entitled Station Ventures: Road Transport, Roadside Economies and Urban Hustle in Ghana.

Review Quote

[...] 'Si des études éparses avaient déjà porté sur les routes en tant que constructions physiques autant que sociales, aucune entreprise n’avait jusqu’ici tenté de produire un propos plus systématique sur cet objet en Afrique' [...] 'Plusieurs contributions du recueil peuvent être lues comme des descriptions extrêmement fines de pratiques et de représentations constitutives des cultures professionnelles des métiers de la route'. Sidy Cissokho, Centre d’études africaines de l’Université d’Édimbourg (CAS), dans Politique africaine n° 147 • octobre 2017 • p.159-170

Table of contents

List of figures List of maps List of contributors Acknowledgments 1 An Introduction to the African Road Kurt Beck, Gabriel Klaeger and Michael Stasik 2 Roadside Involution, Or How Many People Do You Need to Run a Lorry Park? Michael Stasik 3 Jam-Space and Jam-Time: Traffic in Nairobi Amiel Bize 4 Stories of the Road: Perceptions of Power, Progress and Perils on the Accra-Kumasi road, Ghana Gabriel Klaeger 5 Biographies of Roads, Biographies of Nations: History, Territory and the Road Effect in Post-Conflict Somaliland Luca Ciabarri 6 Cosmological Work at the Crossroads: Commercial Motorbike Riders in Makeni, Sierra Leone Michael Bürge 7 Ruin, Or Repair? Infrastructural Sociality and an Economy of Disappearances along a Rural Road in Kenya Mark Lamont 8 Negotiating Desert Routes: Travelling Practices on the Forty Days Road Rami Wadelnour 9 Teda Drivers on the Road between Agadez and Assheggur: Taking over an Ancient Tuereg Caravan Route Tilman Musch 10 Technological Dramas on the Road: The ‘Artery of the North Highway’ in the Sudan Kurt Beck Index  


All interested in African Studies, and anyone concerned with infrastructure, mobility, transport and the anthropology of roads in particular.