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Accepted Paper:

Repair Allegories: Phenomenology of Electronics Consumption and Repair in Tanzania  
Samwel Moses Ntapanta (Aarhus University)

Paper Short Abstract:

Why is repair not slowing down in Tanzania, even in the neoliberal market, where things are made to be wasted as soon as possible?

Paper Abstract:

Repairing is an everyday experience for many people in Tanzania. A repairer is always available to tinker with anything. However, acts of repair or finding a repairer do not only appear when things break down. Repair is considered a part of an object’s life and people´s life with an object. As a result, people consume certain products, relying on particular infrastructures and the availability of repair before breakdowns happen. These possibilities and the ability to repair are considered and searched before acquiring the object. This contrasts with a radical emphasis in other economies between the whole, intact and functioning object and the one that is broken, apart, and not working – in need of repair. In Tanzania, as this paper will show, for most people, objects are never really whole and never really broken; even when brokenness happens, objects retain the potentialities of a life, keep memories and the intimate relations that the object gathers with the people. And there is a way to restore those relationships. There is a repairer always ready in handy to repair.

Panel P210
Technology matters: ethnographies of technological adoption beyond the Western world
  Session 1 Thursday 25 July, 2024, -