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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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Situational Kinship and Everyday Authority

(p.112) Chapter 4 Cunhas
Working the System

Jon Schubert

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at practices of situative kinship in everyday interactions between citizens and agents of the state, and the ideas of power and hierarchy expressed in these practices. This reveals the tensions between what people see as the real functioning of society, and their perspectives on how society should work. However, the idea of kinship an oppositional discourse must be complicated through the exploration of the everyday practice of mobilising cunhas (personal connections) for one’s own purposes. Exploring these cunhas — based on intimate knowledge of Luandan family networks — allows us to trace the multiple linkages between state and society, combine in the analysis social strata commonly studied separately, and complicate any overly simplistic notions of nepotism and corruption.

Keywords:   Kinship, Networks, Social Hierarchies, Corruption, Tradition, Gossip, Social History of Luanda

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