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Institutional hybrids through meso-level bricolage: the governance of formal property in urban Tanzania

Pani, Erica (2023) Institutional hybrids through meso-level bricolage: the governance of formal property in urban Tanzania. Geoforum, 140. ISSN 0016-7185

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Identification Number: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2023.103722


Drawing on a case-study from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, we explore who governs formal property in African cities, how they make formal property legitimate and functional, and the consequences of these processes. Through the analytic lenses of institutional hybridity and ‘meso-level’ bricolage, we study the implementation of the Residential Licence programme, which offered a relatively affordable interim property right to the urban poor. We illustrate that formal property is constructed and managed by a hybrid governance of actors within and at the interface of the state – municipalities and community leaders. Some eighteen years after the programme began, the mtaa chairperson – an unpaid political figure and community representative, typically associated with informal land institutions – is still central to the governance of formal property. Both municipalities and mtaa chairpersons engage in practices of bricolage, which transform the RL into a hybrid institution, anchored to both existing and newly proposed sources of authority and knowledge on property relations. On one side, these practices lend legitimacy and functionality to the ‘new’ property right system. On the other, they open up grey areas for discretion and power relations. Therefore, we argue that this hybrid governance be supported by the state through adequate resources and political support. By offering a rare analysis of institutional bricolage within and at the interface of the state, our findings are important to advance current understandings on land reform implementation, land governance and land institutions in African cities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2023 The Authors.
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2023 17:00
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2024 03:27

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