Re-articulating citizenship in times of uncertainty: Hybridity in Covid-19 responses in sub-Saharan Africa

Main funder

Funder's project number348234

Funds granted by main funder (€)

  • 499 958,00

Funding program

Project timetable

Project start date01/09/2022

Project end date31/08/2026


The Covid-19 pandemic is not just a global health crisis but also presents severe ruptures for citizens' rights and livelihoods. Restrictive measures undertaken by states have both entrenched and rearticulated existing state-citizens relationships in diverse political systems. Little is known about the actual dynamics of the Covid-19 responses especially in the context of sub-Saharan Africa where citizens, so far, seem to have struggled more with the consequence of the measures than the disease itself. We investigate the ways in which states justify their tutelage, neglect and coercion related to the measures introduced, and the diverse authorities citizens draw upon to make sense of the situation and decide between compliance with and resistance to the measures. We build on and further develop the concepts of enacted citizenship and hybridity, which emphasize the co-existence of different social orders and a variety of communities of citizenship vis-á-vis which responsibilities, rights and belonging are negotiated. We scrutinize Tanzania and Uganda that presented different responses to Covid-19 pandemic. We answer the main question: How are state-citizen relations entrenched and rearticulated under the Covid-19 pandemic in Tanzania and Uganda? with three sub-questions concerning (1)the kinds of institutional orders states draw upon to legitimate their tutelage, neglect and coercion of citizens in the face of Covid-19 pandemic; (2)the varieties of sources of authority draw upon to make sense of the situation and decide between the response of compliance with and resistance to the state's measures; and (3)the ways in which the tensions, conflicts and coalescing between alternative orders of justification and sensemaking manifest in the enacted citizenship that emerges under Covid-19 pandemic. The research material consists of (1)public speeches of relevant authorities and newspaper articles collected from February 2020 onward, and (2)survey and narrative interviews of citizens on selected urban and rural locations. The findings resulting from descriptive analysis of the survey, and narrative, rhetoric and content analysis of the speeches and interviews present new knowledge on the state-citizen relationships in the unique situation of Covid-19 in particular, but also in the selected countries in general. In addition to empirical and theoretical contribution to development and citizenship studies, the results inform policy makers and practitioners.

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Last updated on 2024-29-05 at 11:38