Zanzibar's Street Entrepreneurs: How Cooperative Social Relations are Formed in the Informal Street Economy

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
This thesis explores processes of relationship formation between entrepreneurs of the informal street economy. The research presents an ethnographic account of the daily routines, spatial practices, and interactions of Zanzibar’s street entrepreneurs to determine whether participation in the street economy can facilitate cooperative social relations between them instead of antagonistic ones. As Zanzibar has long been the site of intense identity politics – where political and cultural views divide islanders and Tanzanian mainlanders – the fact that multiple identities operate in the street economy presents an intriguing puzzle as to what sort of social networks exist amongst them. Evidence is taken from interviews, a questionnaire, and participatory observation with tour guides (official and unofficial), vendors, and fishermen who work on the streets of Stone Town, predominantly in informal tourism sector activities. Along with the sharing of space, positive connections were also formed along the lines of mobility, shared understandings of struggle and the necessity of interdependence in their work.
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Scholarly level
Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Cooper, Elizabeth
Thesis advisor: Gibson, Christopher
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