Accepted Paper:

Visions of modernity: re-routing knowledge through people and things in a large scale resettlement project  

Author:

Thomas Yarrow (Durham University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how the linked concepts of ‘development’ and ‘modernity’ acted as a prism through which the ideas of a diverse and previously disparate group of people became mutually intelligible in the context of a large-scale resettlement project in Ghana

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines how the linked concepts of 'development' and 'modernity' acted as a prism through which the ideas of a diverse and previously disparate group of people became mutually intelligible in the context of a large-scale resettlement project in Ghana. During the 1960s the Akosombo Dam flooded 700 villages, leading to the resettlement of 80,000 people in centrally planned towns that were imagined as props to the modernizing ambitions of the Nkrumah government. Drawing on Strathern's theorization of artefacts, I explore how the material embodiments of these past development ideologies continue to manifest themselves in the present. In particular my account focuses on how those who were re-settled literally extend the visions of planners and architects both through 'practices of everyday life' and the modification of resettlement houses. In this context I argue that resettlement acted to objectify the visions of planners and bureaucrats in ways that re-routed existing forms of knowledge and relationship in new and largely un-anticipated ways.

Panel W065
Routing knowledge through persons