Everyday Authoritarianism: Urban Life and Politics in Luanda, Angola

This project poses the question of how authoritarian politics systems institutionalise themselves through everyday life. While there has been a rise in authoritarian politics across the African continent over the last decade, there is little understanding of how authoritarianism is actually experienced on the ground, and why ordinary citizens come to support these systems Focused on one neighbourhood in Angola’s capital, Luanda, this project uses historical and anthropological methods to to understand the workings of official and unofficial governance practices in the neighbourhood. It thereby investigates how the state works at a local level, how people develop relationships to governance institutions, and through this, how the authoritarian nature of Angola’s political system shapes everyday life.
Drawing on literature in political anthropology, urban studies, and African Studies, it contributes to African scholarship by providing insights into the quotidian workings of authoritarianism on the continent and with that an understanding of its limits.

Project leader(s):
  • Claudia Gastrow (Department of Anthropology and Development Studies, University of Johannesburg)

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