Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Anne K. Rasmussen

Committee Members

Jonathan Glasser

Brad Weiss

Max Katz


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.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only