Accepted Paper:

Angolan-Portuguese workplace relations in contemporary Luanda  

Author:

Pétur Waldorff (Nordic Africa Institute/University of Iceland)

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores Angolan-Portuguese workplace relations in contemporary Angola following a sharp recession in Portugal in tandem with an economic growth period in Portugal’s former colony Angola which has resulted in the recent large scale migration of Portuguese citizens to Angola.

Paper long abstract:

Portuguese migrants to its ex-colony Angola range from low to high skilled labour migrants working in Angola's booming construction sector, to banking and telecommunications experts and executives, as well as businessmen and women in search of fast and high returns on their investments. The advent of over 150 000 Portuguese migrants into Angola's economy with Portuguese nationals working side by side with Angolans as co-workers, bosses, and under-employees after 40 years of Angolan independence from Portugal has yielded diverse reactions, discourses and analyses of what is taking place and what it really means. In light of the two countries' shared colonial history disagreements arise, as well as cases of suspicion of intent and outright accusations of re-colonization, in addition to accusations on both sides of arrogance, xenophobia and racism. Ethnographic fieldwork in 2014 and 2015 has revealed that in Luanda's social and political context, Portuguese supremacy, higher wages, work related fringe benefits, and colonial attitudes and arrogance are condemned by Angolans while, concurrently, Portuguese migrants are dependent on Angolans for employment through work visas and business partnerships. Workplace inequalities, epitomized in salary disparities and workplace segregation in which Portuguese employees keep to themselves and eat and socialize separately, are among the grievances most commonly mentioned by Angolan informants working with Portuguese nationals. Through ethnographic examples, this paper investigates workplace relations and grievances and the symbolic colonial (and postcolonial) power Portuguese migrants represent in contemporary Luanda and Angolan employees' interpretation and reaction to it.

Panel P048
Moving beyond the colonial? North-South mobility, power and post-colonial encounters [ANTHROMOB]