Ujamaa and Religious Pluralism in Tanzania: What DividedSubjectness Reveals about Christians and Muslims

Antoni M. Keya


This paper examines how Christian-Muslim debates are carried out from a linguistic point of view, to determine whether the presence or absence of unity in Tanzania could be attributed to the Ujamaa ideology. Therefore, the question this paper wishes to answer is how Christians and Muslims share discourse resources in these religious debates to show their closeness as friends. The study was conducted on two ChristianMuslim debate meetings in Mwanza and Tunduma. A Conversation Analysis focusing on turn allocation, amount of interruption, selection and change of topics, control of the agenda and how interactions are established and finished, coupled with interlocutors' word choice contradict the assertion that these debates are friendly conversations. The meetings exhibit a deep-seated suspicion, and they are more of a competition to win disciples from each other. It is in a competitive atmosphere such as this that divided-subjectness shows, when the real register trumps the symbolic and the imaginary registers, that there is no love lost between interlocutors, and unification too distant to achieve.

Keywords: Christians, Muslims, Conversation Analysis, discourse resources, divided dubject, Tanzania, Ujamaa

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 [ISSN 0856-9965 (Print)]