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Abstract

Tanzania’s turn away from socialism resulted, among other things, in a liberalization of trade unions. Based on labour’s new potential, unionists have revised their inventory of collective action, while at the same time clinging to established arrangements. This anthropological article explores how union leaders and their development partners view the transformation. It shows where respondents see avenues for strengthening their position and constraints in reaching their goals. An approach based on social movement theory, namely the concept of ‘repertoires’, is applied here in order to interpret and discuss the data. This approach is useful, although it needs to be supplemented by an investigation of actors and the overlapping solidarities they construct.

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