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Modernization Ideals, Inertia and Change in Urban Water Development in the Decolonized Africa
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Philosophy and History of Technology, History of Science and Technology (name changed 20120201).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0611-7512
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Starting from the late 1950s, the regimes of newly decolonized African countries sought to kick-start development with assistance from Western donors. Using Kenya as case study, this paper discusses development policy and socio-technical change in African urban water management using the theoretical concepts of 'technology domain' (W. Brian Arthur) and 'reverse salient' (Thomas P Hughes). The paper argues that ideals of modernization and progress in the decolonized Africa set the stage for a systemic mismatch between the Western technological paradigm and its African social and hydrological contexts. It further argues that improving social and environmental sustainability of urban water management requires changes in incentive structure and social power relations, including those with donor organizations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
water, sanitation, Africa, technological change, modernisation, development policy
National Category
History of Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-169870OAI: diva2:825459
World Congress on Environmental History, 8-12 July 2014, Portugal, Guimaraes

QC 20150624

Available from: 2015-06-23 Created: 2015-06-23 Last updated: 2015-06-24Bibliographically approved

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Nilsson, David
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History of Science and Technology (name changed 20120201)
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