Accidents Have No Cure! Road Death as Industrial Catastrophe in Eastern Africa

Lamont, Mark (2012). Accidents Have No Cure! Road Death as Industrial Catastrophe in Eastern Africa. African Studies, 71(2) pp. 174–194.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00020184.2012.702964

Abstract

This article offers an anthropological critique of the recent epidemiological turn in global road safety through ethnographic attention to the ways in which people in East Africa actually discuss fatal road traffic accidents. Through limiting case studies of professional drivers in Kenya and Tanzania, this article examines the conceptual ethics of continuing to draw upon the ‘accidental’ in explanations of road death and injury. Might the epidemiological turn eventually encourage new forms of tolerance to road deaths and injuries? In focusing on this question, it is argued that an approach more attentive to road fatalities as a diffuse, but routine industrial catastrophe more acutely exposes the politics of automobility and its uncertainties.

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