Mobile Applications to Secure Tenure in Rural Tanzania
Anticipating Diverging Agricultural Futures and the Production of (In)securities in the Kilombero Valley
Keywords:environmental futures, (in)security, anticipation, mapping narratives, land (in)formalization, mobile applications, SAGCOT, human-technology-nature relations
In light of climate change, projected population growth, increasing conflicts over land and the question of food security, the Tanzanian government takes the respective visions of environmental futures as a cause and justification for particular measures in the here and now. One such modality through which agricultural futures in the Kilombero Valley are currently made present and decided upon is the use of the Mobile Application to Secure Tenure (MAST). Through the use of this application, on the one hand, a more capital-friendly land legislation should be developed. On the other hand, by issuing Certificates of Customary Rights of Occupancy (CCRO), which are supposed to offer a certain security to current land users, expected conflicts are sought to be reduced and prevented. Thus, by examining the use of MAST and the particular ways in which it renders possible futures actionable, we contribute to ongoing research that aims to illustrate how “humans [...] do not own and shape ‘their’ future alone” (Granjou et al. 2017: 8). While such technologies are generally developed and employed to increase certainty, following the implementation and effects of MAST, in particular, we will show how the specific materiality of this mobile application not only allows to secure tenure, but at the same time creates new insecurities that contribute to the complex emergence of environmental futures in this part of rural Tanzania.
Copyright (c) 2022 Astrid Matejcek, Julia Verne
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