Daniel Mains explores the intersection of development and governance in Ethiopia by examining the conflicts surrounding specific construction projects: asphalt and cobblestone roads, motorcycle taxis, and hydroelectric dams.
“Based on years of ethnographic research, Under Construction is a magnificent and thorough exposition that describes the ambivalence and hope invested in construction projects in Ethiopia. Construction, Daniel Mains demonstrates, is a vital location at which relationships between states and citizens are grounded. While they are powerful gatherings of technology and finance, construction projects are also precarious and full of danger. In exploring the tensions that are intrinsic to construction projects, Mains effortlessly brings together theorizations of historical materialism, vital materialism, and affect theory to produce a dazzling and clear account of how construction is incrementally and yet fundamentally transforming the political landscape of cities of the global South." Nikhil Anand, author of Hydraulic City: water and the infrastructures of citizenship in Mumbai
Daniel Mains is Wick Cary Associate Professor of Anthropology and African Studies at the University of Oklahoma and author of Hope Is Cut: youth, unemployment, and the future in urban Ethiopia.