Sure Road? Nationalisms in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique

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This book brings together new research on the subject of nations and nationalisms in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. It explores the history and politics of diverse nationalist discourses and ideologies, and it revisits the formation and contemporary developments of national imagined communities in Portuguese-speaking Africa. It does so by drawing on several disciplines and by exploring themes as diverse as Frelimo’s liberation literature, UNITA’s moral economy and the disaggregation of Guinea-Bissau. The authors provide novel insights in the hope of contributing to the academic and public debate on the subject, not least in those countries where, in the face of liberalisation, ruling parties and their opponents have been arguing intensively over, and have sometime struggled to re-invent, a sense of national community. Through their engagement with the subject, authors also make a contribution to the general discussion of the concepts of nations and nationalism.
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Biographical Note

Eric Morier-Genoud, Ph.D. (2006) in Historical Sociology, State University of New York at Binghamton, is Lecturer in African History at Queen's University Belfast. He has published extensively on the history, religion and politics of Mozambique and South Africa.

Review Quotes

'This admirable book sets out to explain what nationalism and nationality has meant, and means today, for the people of the former Portuguese colonies of Angola, Guinea-Bissau, and Mozambique. It is a multi-authored volume made up of papers delivered at a workshop in 2007 and, if the passage of five years and the different perspectives and styles of eleven authors suggest a volume that is blurred in focus and partially out of date, this is remedied by a masterly summary of the main themes by Gavin Williams and an introduction by the editor, Eric Morier-Genoud, which restores the contemporary relevance of what has been written...'

Malyn Newitt, in: H-Luso-Africa, H-Net Reviews. December, 2012.

'In this book’s Introduction, the rhetorical question posed in the title gets a prompt answer: no, there was no ‘sure road’ to fulfilling nationalist ambitions for these countries, now independent of Portugal for nearly forty years. Yet that answer may not satisfy everyone, least of all those African officials who in recent years have commissioned the writing of national liberation histories. Those are projects largely of patriotic historiography – a resurgent intellectual current that this book opposes. The editor’s misgivings about that kind of history concern its teleology; that is, the interpretation and even re-invention of the past in terms of present-day outcomes.

... This book’s aim, however, is not to rehearse the critique of official narratives. That would be an anti-climax for readers already aware of the many pre- and post-mortems of nationalist projects in these countries. Rather, the editor has sought to assemble new facts and theoretical approaches. To these ends, the book pays attention to such things as conflicting sub-nationalisms, cultural politics, and the eclipse of ‘Marxist’ development ambitions by high modernist models that serve the happy few.

David Sogge, Transnational Institute, Amsterdam, in African Affairs, Volume 112, Issue 449, October 2013

'Edited volumes resulting from conferences (like this one from a workshop on ‘The Politics of Nations and Nationalisms in Lusophone Africa’ in 2007 at Oxford University) often feel disjointed and lack a coherent theme. This is decidedly not the case in Sure Road? Nationalisms in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique, edited by Eric Morier-Genoud. Morier-Genoud, a scholar of Mozambique, makes a compelling case for examining nationalisms in these three disparate former Portuguese colonies based on a shared colonial history, late and contested paths to independence, and the opening (to varying degrees) of authoritarian political systems in recent years. The editor highlights a glaring lacuna of studies of nationalism in these three countries and argues that now is a propitious time to examine nationalism due to a growing interest among the young, and to the aging and dying of those who participated directly in the creation of these nations in the 1960s and 1970s. The book will be of interest to scholars because of its high calibre and the original insights of the individual chapters. A general audience will appreciate the analyses of contemporary nationalism in these PALOP (Países Africanos de Língua Oficial Portuguesa) countries'.

Jeremy Ball, Dickinson College, in Kronos 39.1, 2013

Table of contents

CONTENTS

List of Illustrations ..................................................................................................vii
List of Contributors ................................................................................................. ix

Introduction. Thinking about Nationalisms & Nations in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique ...............xiii
Eric Morier-Genoud

I Anticolonialism & Nationalism: Deconstructing Synonymy, Investigating Historical Processes.
Notes on the Heterogeneity of Former African Colonial Portuguese Areas ........................................... 1
Michel Cahen

II Virtual Nations and Failed States: Making Sense of the Labyrinth ............................... 31
Philip J. Havik

III The Social Origins of Good and Bad Governance: Re-interpreting the 1968 Schism in Frelimo ............ 79
Georgi Derluguian

IV Writing a Nation or Writing a Culture? Frelimo and Nationalism During the Mozambican Liberation War ...103
Maria-Benedita Basto

V ‘An Imaginary Nation’. Nationalism, Ideology & the Mozambican National Elite ..............................127
Jason Sumich

VI UNITA and the Moral Economy of Exclusion in Angola, 1966–1977 ..................................................149
Didier Péclard

VII Angola’s Euro-African Nationalism: The United Angolan Front ..........................................................177
Fernando Tavares Pimenta

Changing Nationalisms: From War to Peace in Angola......................199
Justin Pearce

IX Is ‘Nationalism’ a Feature of Angola’s Cultural Identity? ...................217
David Birmingham

X Nationalisms, Nations and States: Concluding Reflections ...............231
Gavin Williams

Thematic Bibliography .........................................................................................251
Index.........................................................................................................................265

Readership

Academics, students and all those interested in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau as well as students and instructors of Comparative Politics, Nationalism Studies, African Studies and the History of Portuguese-speaking Africa.

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