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Just out of Reach: Imminence and Political Subjectivity in Mozambique

Sumich, Jason and Bertelsen, Bjørn Enge (2019) 'Just out of Reach: Imminence and Political Subjectivity in Mozambique.' Current Anthropology. ISSN 0011-3204 (In Press)

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The leader of Mozambique’s Renamo party, Afonso Dhlakama, died on May 3, 2018. His death both necessitates an ethnographic, regionally comparative re-thinking of the analytical approach to the dominant Mozambican political parties (Frelimo and Renamo) as diametrically opposed formations from independence onwards and invites to a more general re-consideration of anthropological approaches to politics and the trajectory of African postcolonial states. Based on long-term fieldwork in Chimoio, Maputo, and Nampula, we analyze and compare articulations of political subjectivity and launch a novel reading of Mozambique’s political dynamics arguing how the erstwhile bifurcated political order is structured by a singular, imminent political ontology. Rather than analyzing politics by privileging institutions, identities or movements, we contribute to an anthropology that underline politics as fundamentally shaped by the formation and manipulation of broader systems of meaning, registers, and their spatio-temporal context—aspects which elude analyses based on political discourse or voting patterns. Highlighting the genealogy of this political ontology and emphasizing its generative and imminent nature in terms of forging subjectivity, we explore its enduring yet brittle nature, which includes hegemonic stasis, contestation, and the potential for openings and breakdowns.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Frelimo, Renamo, politics, state-making, subjectivity, political ontology, Mozambique
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2019 13:42
Last Modified: 06 Aug 2020 13:15

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