Practices of Citizenship in East Africa: Perspectives from Philosophical Pragmatism, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Practices of Citizenship in East Africa

Perspectives from Philosophical Pragmatism, 1st Edition

Edited by Katariina Holma, Tiina Kontinen


272 pages | 5 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780367232962
pub: 2019-12-09
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Practices of Citizenship in East Africa uses insights from philosophical pragmatism to explore how to strengthen citizenship within developing countries. Using a bottom-up approach, the book investigates the various everyday practices in which citizenship habits are formed and reformulated. In particular, the book reflects on the challenges of implementing the ideals of transformative and critical learning in the attempts to promote active citizenship.

Drawing on extensive empirical research from rural Uganda and Tanzania and bringing forward the voices of African researchers and academics, the book highlights the importance of context in defining how habits and practices of citizenship are constructed and understood within communities. The book demonstrates how conceptualizations derived from philosophical pragmatism facilitate identification of the dynamics of incremental change in citizenship. It also provides a definition of learning as reformulation of habits, which helps to understand the difficulties in promoting change.

This book will be of interest to scholars within the fields of development, governance, and educational philosophy. Practitioners and policy-makers working on inclusive citizenship and interventions to strengthen civil society will also find the concepts explored in this book useful to their work.


"This vital collection offers fresh insight into the nature of citizen engagement. Challenging liberal and universalist framings of democratic participation, the authors focus on people’s everyday habits, practices and experiences of cooperation for livelihoods and survival. Citizenship is repositioned as a gradual, learned and contextual process that spans public and private life. This highly empirical and theoretically innovative work by African and European scholars is essential reading."Jethro Pettit, Emeritus Fellow, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, UK

Table of Contents

1. Introduction Tiina Kontinen & Katariina Holma


2. Practices and habits of citizenship and learning Katariina Holma & Tiina Kontinen

3. Pragmatism, social inquiry and the method of democracy Henrik Rydenfelt

4. John Dewey’s notion of social intelligence Veli-Mikko Kauppi, Katariina Holma & Tiina Kontinen


5. Contextualizing citizenship in Uganda Henni Alava, Twine H. Bananuka, Karembe F. Ahimbisibwe & Tiina Kontinen

6. Contextualizing citizenship in Tanzania Ajali M. Nguyahambi, Haji H. Chang’a, Benta N. Matunga, Rehema G. Kilonzo & Tiina Kontinen

7. The everyday and spectacle of subdued citizenship in northern Uganda Henni Alava

8. Gendered citizenship in rural Uganda: Localized, exclusive and active Alice N. Ndidde, Karembe F. Ahimbisibwe & Tiina Kontinen

9. "A good believer is a good citizen": Connecting Islamic morals with civic virtues in rural Tanzania Ajali M. Nguyahambi & Tiina Kontinen

10. Habits of contributing citizenship: Self-help groups in rural Tanzania Rehema G. Kilonzo, Benta N. Matunga, Haji H. Chang’a & Tiina Kontinen


11. Participatory methodology in exploring citizenship: A critical learning process Karembe F. Ahimbisibwe, Alice N. Ndidde & Tiina Kontinen

12. Learning in a Ugandan gender advocacy NGO: Organizational growth and institutional wrestling Tiina Kontinen & Alice N. Ndidde

13. The crafting of "critical education": Experiences of a Ugandan NGO Twine H. Bananuka & Vaughn M. John

14. Social accountability monitoring as an approach to promoting active citizenship in Tanzania Ajali M. Nguyahambi & Haji H. Chang’a

15. Conclusions Tiina Kontinen & Katariina Holma

About the Editors

Katariina Holma is Professor of Education at the University of Oulu, Finland

Tiina Kontinen is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow at the Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

About the Series

Routledge Explorations in Development Studies

The series features innovative and original research at the regional and global scale. Its scope extends to scholarly works that take an interdisciplinary and comparative approach.

In terms of theory and method, rather than basing itself on any one orthodoxy, the series draws broadly on the tool kit of the social sciences in general, emphasizing comparison, the analysis of the structure and processes, and the application of qualitative and quantitative methods.

The series welcomes submissions from established authors in the field as well as from junior authors. To submit proposals, please contact the Development Studies Editor, Helena Hurd (

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Civics & Citizenship
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Developing Countries