‘National resources’? : The fragmented citizenship of gas extraction in Tanzania

Ahearne, Robert and Childs, John Robert (2018) ‘National resources’? : The fragmented citizenship of gas extraction in Tanzania. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 12 (4). pp. 696-715. ISSN 1753-1063

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Recent discoveries of oil and natural gas across East Africa have provoked a wave of political optimism fuelled by imaginaries of future development. Tanzania is a paragon of this trend; its government having asserted its potential to become a globally significant natural gas producer within a decade. Yet, this rhetorical promise has been countered by a series of violent confrontations that have taken place between state forces and residents of southern Tanzania. Although these struggles are about various articulations of resource sovereignty, this paper argues that they should be located less in questions of resource control, than in a historical marginalization of the south, or what has been called a ‘hidden agenda’, that privileges urban centres to the north. Drawing on original qualitative data generated over three years in Mtwara and Lindi regions, it shows how gas discoveries reveal the fault lines in the construction of an inclusive ‘Tanzanian’ citizenship. Protesters counter-narrate their sense of citizenship with insurgent strategies ranging from strike action to calls for secession. In short, natural gas discoveries actually extend the fragmentation of an already ‘differentiated citizenship’. Studies of resource conflict and sovereignty, we conclude, should pay more attention to the contested nature of citizenship.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Journal of Eastern African Studies
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of East African Studies on 06/09/2018, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17531055.2018.1518366
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? tanzaniamtwaracitizenshipgasdifferentiated citizenshipcultural studiessociology and political scienceanthropologyhistorypolitical science and international relations ??
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Deposited On:
27 Sep 2018 12:54
Last Modified:
18 May 2024 01:26