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Accepted Paper:

Postcolonial Civil society in Mozambique: Who does it serve?  
Tanja Kleibl (Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt) Jose Jaime Macuane (Eduardo Mondlane University)

Paper short abstract:

We look at the discourses & practices of civil society (CS) from a postcolonial and political-economy perspective, focusing on the construction of the “civil” and “uncivil” in Mozambican society, unravelling how CS is defined by powerful nat. & int. actors accompanied by exclusionary processes.

Paper 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

Panel Econ15
Postcolonial civil society in Mozambique: who does it serve?
  Session 1 Wednesday 31 May, 2023, -