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‘Just another African country’: socialism, capitalism and temporality in Mozambique

Sumich, Jason (2021) '‘Just another African country’: socialism, capitalism and temporality in Mozambique.' Third World Quarterly, 42 (3). pp. 582-598. ISSN 0143-6597

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Here, I examine the legacies of Marx and Lenin for the Indian Ocean nation of Mozambique by tracing nation-building projects from the late colonial period to the present. By combining Archambault’s insights concerning the ‘politics of pretense’ in Mozambique with McGovern’s arguments concerning the development of a durable set of national dispositions in socialist Guinea, I explore the legacies of transformative projects in Mozambique and their contradictions. Mozambican socialism was an ambitious attempt to escape previous colonial practices and build a new kind of durable and all-encompassing national belonging. I argue that this attempt was, paradoxically, both successful and something that soon became mired in new forms of political pretense. I then explore the ways in which the legacies of the socialist period have continued to uphold Frelimo’s rule. This is evident both symbolically, through the party’s influence over what it means to be a ‘modern’ Mozambican, and materially, through structures of democratic centralism and the interpellation of the party, state and security services. However, the gradual decoupling of utopian ambitions and revolutionary temporalities, based on an idea of a messianic future, have sapped the coherence of Frelimo’s political project, and the party’s hegemony now teeters on precarious foundations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: socialism, national dispositions, politics of pretense, nation-building, Frelimo, multiparty capitalism
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2020 14:34
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2022 13:42

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