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Postcolonial civil society in Mozambique: who does it serve? 
Tanja Kleibl (Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt)
Jose Jaime Macuane (Eduardo Mondlane University)
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Lars Buur (Roskilde University)
Economy and Development (x) Decoloniality & Knowledge Production (y)
Philosophikum, S94
Wednesday 31 May, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

The panel looks at the discourse and practices of civil society from a postcolonial and political-economy perspective. It focuses on the construction of the “civil” and “uncivil” in Mozambican society, unravelling how “civil society” is defined by national/international actors and its consequences.

Long Abstract:

Focusing on Mozambique, we aim to question the dominant discourse and practices of civil society

during decades of capitalist expansion, attempted democratization, massive push towards resource

extraction and continued conflict, foregrounding the need for a more complex view and a

postcolonial perspective of civil society do we want to support, both in theory and action, the further

decolonization of discourse and development practices. We critically examine, from a Gramscian

perspective, the way in which the concept has been deployed in development and political discourse.

This highlights its normative and North-centric epistemology and influence on the construction of

civil society, in which grassroots social interaction, faith-based and spiritual solidarity, as well as civil

disobedience are seen as “uncivil”. The privileging of Western-type NGOs as drivers of democracy

and participatory development in Mozambique, has not brought about the desirable reconciliation

and above all, distribution of wealth, which, we argue, has contributed to the expanding war

activities in the Northern Province of Cabo Delgado. This is followed by an overview of recent

debates around the possibilities of an emerging civil society “from below” which emphasis power

dynamics in the context of the political economy of democratization, development, war and beyond.

The latter debate might have considerable implications for future discussions around the localization

of development aid.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Wednesday 31 May, 2023, -