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“Sociedade civil? Somos todos nós!”: civil society, development and social transformation in Mozambique
Kleibl, Tanja
This PhD thesis proposes to problematize from a Southern perspective the dominant discourse and practice around civil society. In order to decolonize knowledge and construct a more contextualized understanding of civil society, grounded theory and a situational analysis approach has been applied. Likewise, an empirical, rather than a normative civil society perspective has been central to this dissertation project. Using Mozambique as a country case study, the way in which the concept of civil society has been deployed in development discourse, is highlighted and interrogated. This underlines its highly normative and North-centric epistemology and shows its limitations in a post-colonial Southern context insofar as it rules out much of the grassroots social interaction, deemed ‘backward’ or ‘uncivil’ and thus not part of internationally recognized civil society. A brief overview of both development and civil society theory as well as the research approach and methods leads on to the major field study which emphasizes the history and complexity of civil society and turns our attention to some of the broader issues surrounding state-society relations and governance in post-colonial Mozambique. Based on an in-depth case study carried out in the Province of Zambézia with a particular focus on Inhassunge District, the thesis presents an alternative way of mapping civil society dynamics and actors. It describes and analyses fragments of an emerging civil society conceptual construct which, taking into consideration the concrete local political and economic context, provides examples of alternative actors at district level. It also explains the contextual influences of land ownership, religious, spiritual and witchcraft dynamics and as such, uncovers the great complexity of civil society in a local African context, which in mainstream civil society discourse is most often reduced to the world of the intermediary NGO. My conclusion is that Mozambican civil society is characterized by many ambiguities and even contradictions. The most serious divide observed was between the modern Western-style civil society, with its central actor the legalized NGO, and other forms of spiritual, associational and political civil society. These societies operate in different public spheres and are based on different moral grounds; the more distant they are from each other, the weaker the possibility of developing a new hegemony through the sphere of civil society and collective action. Possible future scenarios, as far as civil society development in Mozambique is concerned, includes the perspective of civil society appropriation and post-civil society. The thesis closes with a final statement on the potential role of civil society within social transformation.
Keyword(s): Sociology; Political science; Civil society; development; social transformation; Mozambique; postcoloniality
Publication Date:
Type: Other
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Contributor(s): Munck, Ronaldo; Doyle, John; Bartosch, Ulrich
Institution: Dublin City University
Citation(s): Kleibl, Tanja (2017) “Sociedade civil? Somos todos nós!”: civil society, development and social transformation in Mozambique. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.
Publisher(s): Dublin City University. School of Law and Government
File Format(s): application/pdf
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First Indexed: 2017-11-10 06:07:51 Last Updated: 2019-02-09 06:14:05