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Monumental Misunderstandings

The Material Entextualization of Mutual Incomprehension in Sino-Mozambican Relations

Morten Nielsen and Mikkel Bunkenborg

A statue of stainless steel cast in China and placed at the entrance of the new National Stadium in Mozambique sparked controversy between Chinese donors and Mozambican recipients in the period leading up to the stadium’s 2011 inauguration. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among the Mozambican and Chinese nationals involved in the project, we explore the multiple misunderstandings surrounding the statue and show how they came to define Sino-Mozambican relations. Entextualized through materiality, the misunderstandings assumed a monumental form in the statue, and the message of mutual incomprehension continued to reverberate across the social terrain of Sino-Mozambican relations long after the statue itself had been removed. Misunderstandings, we argue, should not be dismissed as ephemeral communicative glitches, but seen as productive events that structure social relations.

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Introduction

Approaching Perpetrators

Erin Jessee

The rationale for this special section of Conflict and Society lies in anthropology’s relatively recent and steadily growing application to the study of political violence in its various manifestations, from everyday instances of subtle structural violence to more overt cases of war and mass atrocities. In the late 1990s, Carolyn Nordstrom’s (1997) work among soldiers and ordinary civilians whose lives had been intimately affected by Mozambique’s civil war and Antonius Robben’s (1996) work among survivors and perpetrators of Argentina’s Dirty War enabled an important shift among ethnographers. Whereas in the past ethnographers typically focused on violence and warfare in substate and prestate societies, Nordstrom and Robben emphasized the foundations of political violence in complex state societies. Their work led to the emergence of a small cohort of ethnographers—among them Philippe Bourgois (2003), Nancy Scheper-Hughes (1997, 2002), and Neil Whitehead (2002, 2004)—specialized in what was soon termed “the ethnography of political violence”

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Art of Solidarity

Cuban Posters for African Liberation 1967–1989

David Fleming

focus on the fight against foreign domination, resistance to colonialism, and apartheid. An example is “Day of World Solidarity with Mozambique,” 1967, by Olivio Martinez Viera ( Figure 4 ), which gets the message across through a stark composition in

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Michael R. M. Ward

on extensive fieldwork, in our final regular article Andrea Moreiras explores how a group of young men construct their sense of belonging to a public space, namely, a market in the capital city of Mozambique, Maputo. The article shows how these young

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Introduction

Fuelling Capture: Africa's Energy Frontiers

Michael Degani, Brenda Chalfin, and Jamie Cross

high levels of global CO2 ( Carrington 2019 ). Africa hosts these trends in extremis . In 2018, Cyclone Idai devastated swathes of Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi, testifying to the fact that the African continent is ground zero for some of the worst

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Laborers, Migrants, Refugees

Managing Belonging, Bodies, and Mobility in (Post)Colonial Kenya and Tanzania

Hanno Brankamp and Patricia Daley

regimes, but also sought work to pay taxes. In Tanganyika, migrants from Belgian (Rwanda and Burundi) and Portuguese (Mozambique) territories formed the most common group of “distance labor” and were provided with free housing. Ethnic and racial

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Introduction

Traces of Pan Africanism and African Nationalism in Africa Today

Denis Goldberg

). This regional organisation includes Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Though offering its former President Mbeki as a mediator South Africa has not been able to stop the excesses

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Victor Igreja

Healing in Post-war Mozambique’ , in C. Sriram and S. Pillay (eds.), Peace versus Justice? The Dilemma of Transitional Justice in Africa ( KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa : University of Kwa-Zulu Natal Press ), 277 – 96 . Igreja , V. ( 2015

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Capturing Crisis

Solar Power and Humanitarian Energy Markets in Africa

Jamie Cross

international emergency response to natural disasters, forced displacement and disease epidemics. In the aftermath of Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, for example, governments, charities, corporations and faith groups sought to respond to the emergency relief

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Looking for the child soldier

The judicial investigation in the case of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo

Milena Jakšić

armes au Mozambique: Anthropologie d'une guerre civile ( Paris : Karthala ). Hoffman , D. ( 2007 ), ‘ The meaning of a militia: Understanding the civil defense forces of Sierra Leone ’, African Affairs 106 , no. 425 : 639 – 662 . Hoffman