Life (and limb) in the fast-lane

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In a new article in Critical African Studies, SUPE contributor Jacob Doherty considers the precariousness that marks Kampala’s boda boda (motorcycle taxi) industry. Through a relational approach to ontology, he asks how the boda boda industry comes into being and endures, what forms of vulnerability it entails, and what experiences, relations, and forms of urban life it produces. Jacob argues that three forms disposability structure and arise from the industry – structural unemployment, embodied vulnerability, and infrastructural displacement. Infrastructural violence, he argues, must be considered when describing and theorizing people as infrastructure. The article examines how boda boda drivers’ shared condition of insecurity and disposability generates intense forms of sociality, solidarity, mutual obligation, recognition, and urban vitality.


Jacob Doherty is an anthropologist researching the politics of belonging and exclusion, infrastructural violence, and the materialities of…