Accepted paper:

"I think this will all end bloody": the politics of middle-class privilege and dependence in Maputo


Jason Sumich (University of Essex)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation examines how Frelimo's (the ruling party of Moambique) nationalist hegemony is beginning to crumble among those who have long benefitted from the party's rule.

Paper long abstract:

In this presentation I discuss what the category of 'middle class' means in present-day Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. I examine the relationships of dependence and obligation that form this social category and the attempts to symbolically justify such relationships. I argue that the current bankruptcy of the narratives that provided moral legitimacy of the social order is causing the ruling party's hegemony to crumble. By focusing on the symbolic narratives that attempt to justify privilege, forms of dependence and inequality, and how they have transformed, I then demonstrate why, despite the nation's economic growth, many of my informants see the current era as a time of fearful decay.

panel P19
Political subjectivities in resource-rich authoritarian countries