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Working the SystemA Political Ethnography of the New Angola$
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Jon Schubert

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781501713699

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501713699.001.0001

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2002, Year Zero

2002, Year Zero

The Foundations of the New Angola

(p.29) Chapter 1 2002, Year Zero
Working the System

Jon Schubert

Cornell University Press

Since the end of the Angolan conflict in 2002, the ruling MPLA party has been promoting a ‘master narrative’ of ‘peace and reconstruction’ through which the Angolan conflict is resignified as a merely technical issue, and the question of ‘national reconciliation’ is limited to the reconstruction of infrastructures. This chapter analyses the discursive strategies and performative acts employed in these processes, and looks at the symbolic and material effects of this ‘technical’ hegemonic discourse in the country’s capital, Luanda. As national reconciliation is limited to the reconstruction of infrastructures, the master narrative of the ‘New Angola’ is also physically imposed on the urban cityscape; similarly, any substantive political dialogue about the war is precluded as a threat to the ‘gains of peace’, which are measured again in purely material terms of the built environment.

Keywords:   Memory politics, Reconstruction, Urbanism, Spatial Cleansing, Dealing with the Past, Master Narrative, Politics of Concrete

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