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(In)visible borders in East Africa – Place- and space-making in a precarious world

As one of the human consequences of globalization, tourism affects people worldwide. It also affects the material and social world around us, the composition of geographical places and social spaces. It is the interconnection of places and spaces under globalization that the joint project seeks to investigate, with a focus on Eastern Africa, i.e., Kenya and Zanzibar. We will examine how tourism creates social spaces, forms part of and is integrated into different places in Kenya and Zanzibar, and how these compare to each other. Particular attention will be paid to changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected vulnerable African societies more than Western societies, where the former have been totally dependent on tourism and never received any form of governmental aid. Methodologically, this will be implemented applying semiotic and linguistic analyses in a critical discourse analytical framework. We will apply our critical vantage point to the investigation of ideologies and relations of (unequal) power in Tiwi, a village in Kenya, and in different villages in Zanzibar. Ultimately, we aim at shedding new light on notions such as globalization and transnationalism, which relate to the world as a cultural concept, made up of not only different but also differently accessible places and spaces.

Susanne Mohr