Thursday, 20. November 2008

Chap. 1: The Accra-Kumasi Road - Function and impact of flows and disruptions

  • Routes of power: politics, struggles for access, and allegations (Kyebi case)
  • The benefits of roads: commerce, communication and integration
  • The repercussions of roads: ‘death traps’, dangerous strangers and powers
In this opening chapter, I lay out the general functions, impacts and repercussions of the Accra-Kumasi road (AKR). First, I depict the various instances of road building, that is the (re)opening and closing of the AKR and sections of it at different moments in time. The flows as well as the disruptions of flows, triggered by the mentioned instances, have always been embedded in contexts of power, politics and struggles for access and connection. Using the recent developments in Kyebi as an example, I then explore how access to the AKR and to transregional traffic flow has been beneficial (at least to some extent) for the town’s commercial activities, national integration and communication. However, the drawbacks of the AKR are equally pressing as its heavy flow of traffic produces an alarming number of motor accidents. They perpetuate the popular metaphor of Ghanaian roads as ‘death traps’ and foster imageries of hazardous powers on the way. I therefore claim that, to people living with the road, the AKR incorporates ambiguous experiences of power, progress and dangers.

Experiencing the Accra-Kumasi Road (AKR):

An ethnographic project on roads, commercial driving and everyday travel in Ghana [more]

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Ch1: Accra-Kumasi Road
Ch2: Inhabiting the roadside
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