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Accepted Paper:

The violence of the spectral assemblage: trajectories and imaginaries of Mozambican sovereign formations  
Bjørn Enge Bertelsen (University of Bergen)

Paper short abstract:

The paper analyzes the violent dynamics of sovereignty and statehood in Mozambique. It argues that lynchings, death squads, crime and violent accumulation may be seen through Benjamin's notion of the spectral in order to grasp the social imaginaries and lived realities of such violence.

Paper long abstract:

Departing from the colonial and postcolonial violence of Mozambican state formation, the paper explores the particular contested nature of such sovereign dynamics. Empirically, the paper analyses shifts in elite violent accumulation as well as the rise of police death squads, popular lynchings and powerful criminal networks. These violent dimensions of urban and peri-urban life are analyzed in relation to historical processes - including the civil war and the emergence of a post-independence socialist politics - as well as recent neoliberal transformations of statehood and powerful social dynamics and imaginaries. Employing Benjamin's notion of the spectral in relation to police practice and law, the paper will argue that these violent shifts has produced a state crisis characterized by spectral assemblages of sovereign forms. Such violence, I argue, should be seen as a doubly destructive and constructive force embedded both in social realities and in the crises integral to sovereign formations.

Panel W103
Sourcing/outsourcing state violence: concealment, legitimacy, sovereignty
  Session 1