The New Old Urbanites. Care and Transnational Aging in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Kaiser-Grolimund, Andrea Patricia. The New Old Urbanites. Care and Transnational Aging in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 2018, Doctoral Thesis, University of Basel, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/93543/

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This PhD thesis is about older people’s everyday lives in changing urban milieus of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and their imaginations about kuzeeka vizuri (aging well).
Tanzania’s urban hub of Dar es Salaam belongs worldwide to those cities with the fastest population increase in recent years. At the same time, the country’s socialist past makes Dar es Salaam a particular place for older urban dwellers as the idea that only the productive workforce is allowed to live in the city sticks in the head of some people to this day. Based on fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork in Tanzania and the USA between 2012 and 2015, this PhD thesis therefore explores how a “first generation” of older people who decided to stay in the city grows old. Through the lens of social differentiation, it analyzes how people above the age of sixty years live their everyday lives and age differently in different social milieus of the city. With a theoretical focus on agency, it highlights that older people’s experiences of the urban range between perceiving the city as a place of challenges and opportunities. By focusing on a former civil servants’ milieu belonging to Dar es Salaam’s middle-income strata, this PhD thesis further explores the ways in which the retired inhabitants engage in everyday self-care and thereby draws parallels to the international discourse around “successful aging.” The PhD thesis further argues that the provision of everyday self-care and relational care is largely dependent on the perceived health condition of an older person. In doing so, it focuses not only on the older people’s own perspectives, but also includes their caregivers. Through a multi-sited approach, this PhD thesis furthermore investigates on how children or relatives living in the USA are engaged in transnational exchanges and shape their parents’ aging experiences. At the same time, the engagement in “transnational triangles of care” depends on these children’s possibilities as (il)legal migrants in the USA.
This PhD thesis contributes to a body of literature that perceives older urbanites not as passive recipients of care, but as older people who actively engage in care practices that they also perform for themselves—with the help of others. It thereby underlines that although urbanization and population aging are said to weaken family structures and care, some older people actually perceive them to be more intact, particularly in the city. Finally, it claims that studying old age in the city may contribute to a new perspective on the city—through the eyes of the new old urbanites.
Advisors:Obrist van Eeuwijk, Brigit and Förster, Till and Van Eeuwijk, Piet
Faculties and Departments:04 Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Ehemalige Einheiten Gesellschaftswissenschaften > Visuelle und politische Ethnologie (Förster)
09 Associated Institutions > Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) > Former Units within Swiss TPH > Medical Anthropology (Obrist)
UniBasel Contributors:Kaiser-Grolimund, Andrea and Obrist van Eeuwijk, Brigit and Förster, Till and Van Eeuwijk, Piet
Item Type:Thesis
Thesis Subtype:Doctoral Thesis
Thesis no:14937
Thesis status:Complete
Number of Pages:xvi, 304
Identification Number:
  • urn: urn:nbn:ch:bel-bau-diss149374
edoc DOI:
Last Modified:14 Feb 2023 05:30
Deposited On:13 Feb 2023 11:17

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