Rethinking social categories in post-conflict Angola: social mobility in Luanda in the aftermath of civil war
(Université Paris 1 - Pantheon Sorbonne)
Paper short abstract:
This paper aims to dress a portrait of Luanda’s social distinction in the aftermath of war through the analysis of social mobility in post-conflict context. Political practices continue to structure social marginalization, but peace creates new dynamics favoring the re-composition of social classes.
Paper long abstract:
This paper aims to dress a portrait of Luanda's social distinction in the aftermath of civil war, through the analysis of social mobility in post-conflict context. War dynamics have strongly shaped Angolan's post colonial society for nearly three decades. Political practices of social domination continue to structure social marginalization in the post war context. Distribution of political, social and economical power is, to a great extent, constrained by the appropriation of state resources and the development of clientele networks based on MPLA's hegemonic control of power. Nonetheless, the arrival of peace creates new social dynamics: the return of exiled immigrants, the economical boom, the national reconstruction policies, the growing of formal employment and international investments in the country, the emergence of new commercial and industrial markets, and the reinforcement of civil society, amongst others, are all factors that favor social re-compositions. Therefore, the end of the armed conflict produces, on one hand, a reconfiguration of power-clientele networks by introducing new actors in the political and economical arena, thus leading to the emergency of a new economical elite. On the other hand, peace (timidly) endows a re-composition of social classes based in the logics of meritocracy. Therefore, those who dispose of social and intellectual resources (mainly favored by their families' background and exile experience) succeed in bypassing cooptation, political affiliation and clientele networks. This paper will analyse those changes based on empirical research field accomplished in Luanda between 2009 and 2012.
Angola in the aftermath of civil war: overcoming the impacts of protracted violence