The Making of the African Road


Volume Editors: , , and
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.

Prices from (excl. shipping):

Add to Cart
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.
'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
'The making of the African road offers superb local and comparative insights, decisively placing African roads into the global history and ethnography of modernity. The volume should be of interest well beyond Africanist circles, to all social scientists and experts interested in matters of road infrastructure.' - Florin Faje, Babeş-Bolyai University, Romania, in: Social Anthropology 26.4 (2018), pp. 577-578
'The chapters contribute rich ethnographic descriptions that highlight the diversity of roads in contemporary Africa, ranging from congested urban thoroughfares to desert roads composed of little more than tracks across the sand. […] the authors engage most directly with scholarship on Western mobility, the anthropology of roads, and science and technology studies, making the book particularly relevant to scholars interested in how technology and culture shape each other.' - Rosa E. Ficek, University of Puerto Rico, in: Transfers 8.3 (2018), pp. 135-136
List of figures
List of maps
List of contributors

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


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