Sam Maghimbi, Rural Society and the Economy of Affection

Goran Hyden*


Professor Sam Maghimbi devoted much of his immense intellectual energy to issues of rural Tanzania.

He was not convinced that the neo-Marxist or neo-liberal explanations really gave justice to what he – like me – saw as the empirical realities of rural Tanzania.

Drawing on my own previous work on the ‘uncaptured peasantry’ and the ‘economy of affection’ I wish to analyze what has happened in rural Tanzania since the early 1980s when these concepts first became part of the intellectual discourse about Tanzania.

The paper reintroduces the concepts and why they were adopted before looking at trends in rural Tanzania which show that agricultural development has stalled and migration to
urban centres has accelerated. It will look more specifically at what happens to rural households and how their condition is, both a cause and consequences of the difficulties of developing the rural areas of the country.

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