Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
Anne K. Rasmussen
In this study I suggest that, as a music that emerged directly out of the material culture and social climate introduced by structural adjustment, Bongo Fleva is a rich site for the study of neoliberal forms of social identity in Tanzania. The globally influential philosophy of neoliberalism promotes material economic policies such as liberalization, free trade, deregulation, and privatization as the best or "most efficient" means to global growth. In the Tanzanian context, we see neoliberal "structural adjustment reforms" introduced by international lenders in the 80s and 90s in contradistinction to a nationalist "African socialism" that was established with Tanzanian independence in the early 1960s. The struggle within Bongo Fleva to retain the expression of Tanzanian identity while sonically transcending the national by incorporating transnational musical styles and voices is emblematic of the broader contradictions of the neoliberal moment that I illustrate in this paper.
Balestrieri, Fiona A., "Searching for a Voice in Bongo-land: Bongo Fleva Music and the Global Imagination in Neoliberal Tanzania" (2013). Undergraduate Honors Theses. Paper 614.
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