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Accepted Paper:

The origins of commodity dependence: Legacies of empire in Lusophone Africa  
Sophie van Huellen (University of Manchester) Sara Stevano (SOAS University of London) Helena Perez Nino (ISS Erasmus University Rotterdam) Victoria Stadheim (University of Hertfordshire)

Paper short abstract:

We argue that relations and hierarchies among metropoles give rise to specific forms of colonialism. This paper demonstrates how these forms of colonialism created legacies that continue to condition contemporary structures of specialization and commodity dependence in Lusophone Africa.

Paper long abstract:

In a widely-used definition, dependence refers to the expansion of dominant countries as ‘self-sustaining’ while that of dependent countries is ‘conditioned’ (Dos Santos, 1970:231). Breaking with this dichotomy, Rodney (1972) argues that dependence is not only engendered and perpetuated by the bilateral relations between coloniser and colonised, but also through the nested hierarchies of empires, colonies, and the interplay between their different trajectories of development. Commodity dependence in former Portuguese colonies in Africa dramatically illustrates this point, by showing how the international subordination of Portugal itself fostered the porous character of the capital infrastructure set up in the colonies. Building on Rodney’s insights, this paper explores how different metropoles' ability and willingness to facilitate domestic capital accumulation in the colonies shaped the productive structures and social relations of production that were established during the colonial time and how these structures and relations are dynamically reproduced until today. By utilising a critical political economy framework grounded in global history and based on historical time-series data on trade and production as well as selected commodity case studies through colonial and post-colonial times, continuities and ruptures in structures of production and exports are characterised for three former Portuguese colonies in Africa: Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. Focusing on the former Portuguese empire in Africa enables us to scrutinize how specific forms of colonialism created legacies that continue to condition contemporary structures of specialization and commodity dependence and the processes through which these structures are dynamically reproduced.

Panel P08
The colonial roots of commodity dependence
  Session 1 Wednesday 26 June, 2024, -