Daniel Jordan Smith explores how Nigerians negotiate failures of government infrastructure in daily routines. The book's title, Every Household Its Own Government, is a phrase Nigerians use describing the government's inability to provide people with basic infrastructure—like education, electricity, security, transport and water, which requires citizens to rely on themselves. Situated in the anthropological scholarship surrounding the lack of infrastructure, he shows “ostensibly private efforts to address infrastructural shortcomings involve regular state–society interaction” rather than demonstrating those efforts “render the state irrelevant” (p. 2). These exchanges between citizens and officials shape the meaning of citizen, “perpetuate” inequalities and reinforce the state's power as the government and officials benefit from the challenges. Drawing from an ethnographic case in Umuahia in southeastern Nigeria as well as his previous research spanning three decades, Smith examines the development of businesses, technology and networks used in addressing the infrastructure problems. He finds that “as...

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