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Accepted Paper:

Antithesis without thesis: virtuality and its negation in Maputo, Mozambique   
Morten Nielsen (National Museum of Denmark)

Paper short abstract:

This paper seeks to extend our analytical understandig of 'virtuality' by examining social life as its actualised negation. The argument is built on an ethnographic study of failed socialist ideals in Mozambique and the perseverance of its antithesis epitomized by a cartoon figure, 'Xiconhioca'.

Paper long abstract:

Since Gilles Deleuze, 'virtuality' has been understood as a reserve of po-tentialities from which social life is actualised as series of becomings. In this paper, I extend our analytical understanding of virtuality by examining social life as its actualised negation. I build my argument on ethnographic data from Mozambique. In an attempt to leap into a socialist future, the ruling Frelimo party created the 'New Man' after Independence in 1975 as a figure devoted to the revolution. As immoral antithesis, a cartoon figure, 'Xiconhoca', was created to represent all that impeded the realisation of a socialist utopia. Whereas the'New Man' soon succumbed to the forces of neo-liberalism, 'Xiconhoca' still surfaces as antithesis to shattered collecti-ve imaginaries, thus indexing what it is not rather than what it is. Based on an analysis of the 'Xiconhoca', this paper suggests that parallel worlds might co-exist as mutual negations and that social life is actualised through the distance (or void) which exists between them.

Panel W003
Crises, crossings and other worlds: exploring the invisible, the liminal and the virtual
  Session 1