The order of money: Colonialism and the East African Currency Board

Wambui Mwangi, University of Pennsylvania


This dissertation investigates the currency question in the context of colonialism in East Africa. It contends that currency constitutes an important nodal point through which state-society relations are carried out. Therefore one is able, through this lens, both to look at questions of the state-ness of the colonial state as well as the ways in which power and resistance are manifested by social money usage. This dissertation is concerned with the sorts of confrontations and negotiations conducted through the medium of disputes over the appropriate types and uses of money. It contends that monetary systems, which are taken to be the institutions that issue and regulate currency, as well as the practices and policies that support currency circulation are an important part of a political negotiation carried out between the state and society. The state often attempts to discipline and categorize people through their relationship to its currency, while society is ingenious in finding ways to escape and evade these means of control precisely through its uses of the same currency. In colonial East Africa, disputes over the currency ranged from what the appropriate currency should be to what the design on the currency notes should represent. One of the focal points of this dissertation is the East African Currency Board, which administered currency through most of the colonial period.

Subject Area

Political science|African history

Recommended Citation

Mwangi, Wambui, "The order of money: Colonialism and the East African Currency Board" (2003). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3087443.