Seminar by Dr Adam Culver

Seminars & Lectures
MISR Seminar Room 1
Event Date
July 18, 2018
Event Time
02:15 PM

Please join us for a seminar, " Relays of Power: Elections, Incorporation, and the politics of Informality in Kampala, Uganda" by Dr Adam R. Culver, on Wednesday, August 18, 2018. Dr. Culver is a faculty member at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA.


Why did President Museveni lose the backing of Kampala’s boda-boda (motorcycle

taxi) drivers, a group that was previously his most important and reliable base of

urban support? This study relates the shifting significance of boda-boda politics in

Kampala to the governmental rationalities and modes of rule that have shaped

political life in Museveni’s Uganda. I suggest that we can understand the recent

reconfiguration of boda-boda politics as the effect of a desire for political community

that has been frustrated by key aspects of the Museveni government’s efforts to

generate and govern consent. Although the concept of “informality” is generally

used to refer to economic activities that elude state regulation and control, I contend

that, at least in this instance, informality is actively produced by the state in ways that

disrupt associational life, undermine capacities for autonomous organization, and

distort the meaning of citizenship. Ultimately, informalization functions as an

instrument of rule that constitutes a political domain in which the rule of law is

largely absent, patronage networks predominate, and relations of subjection and

dependence are secured.

Keywords: Uganda, multiparty elections, informality, political community,

democracy, incorporation


Papers may be picked from the MISR Library.

Attendance is limited to 60 persons. To register please email:

For further information, please call: 02003052000