Mozambique has echoed developments in other sub-Saharan countries by recently 'recognizing' its traditional authorities and extending their powers. Some celebrate this as 'legal pluralism' and what Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls a 'heterogeneous state'. I question such assessments on the basis of case material collected in Chimoio, Mozambique, from 2007 to 2008. The two cases presented here explore the 2008 spate of the burning of alleged thieves and an individual's search for protection in a poor neighborhood. Overall, the article aims to suggest a reformulation of some political and legal anthropology developed in the context of Africa and, especially, to avoid some of the universalizing typologies and individuating features of such anthropology.
A Critique of Some Legal Anthropological Terms
Bjørn Enge Bertelsen
The Making of War Veterans in Postindependence Mozambique
Over a decade ago, Chris Alden (2002: 353) summarized the reintegration process of war veterans in Mozambique after the civil war by referring to a comment made by the famous American general Douglas MacArthur: “Old soldiers never die, they just
Audit cultures and the weakening of public sector health systems
local sovereignty, retaining Western hegemony in southern Africa, and privatizing local resources. Mozambique provides an illustrative case study of austerity in Africa to underscore the key function of audit culture in the effort to enable and enforce
From “Predicaments of Mobility” to “Potentialities in Displacement”
Stephen C. Lubkemann
primarily on ethnographic material from my two longest and most multifaceted research engagements with war-affected populations from (and in) Mozambique and Liberia. From Inventorying Loss to Documenting the Complex Transformations of Social Opportunity
Mimeses, Alterities, and Colonial Hierarchies
‘imitation from above’, as epitomized by the hut-hospital. Created between the 1920s and the 1950s for the purpose of providing medical assistance to the indigenous populations of Angola, Mozambique, and other Portuguese-administered African regions, hut
The Material Entextualization of Mutual Incomprehension in Sino-Mozambican Relations
Morten Nielsen and Mikkel Bunkenborg
In 2005, the Chinese government proposed to donate a football stadium to Mozambique to be located in Zimpeto, a neighborhood on the northern periphery of Maputo, the country's capital. Less than six years later, on 23 April 2011, a new National
Ana Margarida Sousa Santos
The riots of 2005 in Mocímboa da Praia and the current violent attacks in Cabo Delgado province have resulted in a range of unsettling rumors. This article revisits the riots and their aftermath to make sense of the rumors that have spread since then, fueling fears of violence and uncertainty. These disconcerting rumors are especially rich in what they tell us about the perception of the political Other and the narratives that materialize following violent events. The way in which rumors circulated and were believed or discarded draws a rough picture of the local political arena. This article discusses the elusive nature of trust following sudden violence and addresses the role and relevance of rumors as an obstacle to the creation of peaceful trust relationships.
Reflections on an Ethnographic Study of Chinese Infrastructural Projects in Mozambique and Mongolia
Morten Axel Pedersen and Morten Nielsen
Based on two case studies of Chinese infrastructural interventions in Mozambique and in Mongolia, this article introduces the notion of 'trans-temporal hinge' as a heuristic methodological concept that brings together phenomena and events otherwise distributed across time. The authors explore envelopes used when paying Mozambican workers at a construction site in Maputo and roads dividing Chinese oil workers and local nomads in southern and eastern Mongolia as concrete manifestations of trans-temporal hinges. In exploring the temporal properties of these phenomena, we define the trans-temporal hinge as a gathering point in which different temporalities are momentarily assembled. As an analytical scale derived from a specific ethnographic context, we argue that the trans-temporal hinge provides a novel and, quite literally, timely conceptual invention compared with other recent methods of anthropological knowledge production, such as multi-sited fieldwork.
Citizenship and Democracy in Mozambique
This article examines changing ideas of who constitutes a 'deserving' and 'full' citizen in Mozambique, from independence in 1975 to the present. I argue that the leadership of the ruling Frelimo Party attempted to occupy a position above society where it could determine the practices and behaviors that made one a loyal citizen and, conversely, those that made one an 'alien' or enemy. The adoption of liberal democracy in 1990 undermined the party's right to define what a 'true' or 'good' Mozambican is, but not the underlying structural grammar. Thus, the meaning of citizenship is increasingly a floating signifier. To be designated an 'outsider' is to be an enemy, but it is no longer clear who has the power to define who is a 'true' Mozambican and who is not.
From Natural Disaster to Urban Citizenship on the Outskirts of Maputo, Mozambique
This article explores the generative effects of the flooding that hit Mozambique in 2000. Flood victims from the country's capital, Maputo, were resettled in Mulwene on the outskirts of the city. Although initially envisaged as a 'model neighborhood' based on a set of 'fixed urban norms', it soon became apparent that the Mozambican state was incapable of realizing the project. These failures notwithstanding, residents occupying land informally in the neighborhood have parceled out plots and built houses by imitating those norms. Based on a Deleuzian reading of 'situational analysis', introduced by the Manchester School, the article argues that the flooding constituted a generative moment that gave rise to new and potentially accessible futures in which hitherto illegal squatters were reconfigured as legitimate citizens.