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Title:Does all that is solid melt into air? Questioning 'neo-liberal' occult economies in Mozambique
Author:Sumich, JasonISNI
Periodical:Kronos: Journal of Cape History (ISSN 0259-0190)
Geographic term:Mozambique
Subjects:illicit trade
State-society relationship
External link:http://www.scielo.org.za/pdf/kronos/v36n1/v36a07.pdf
Abstract:This article examines a scandal that broke out in the city of Nampula (northern Mozambique) in 2003. It concerned a foreign investor who was supposedly the head of an organ trafficking ring. The scandal quickly spread as the accusers claimed that many members of the ruling Frelimo party in the municipal and provincial government were complicit. As the furore grew, investigative teams were sent, but the allegations proved to be baseless. The article uses this scandal as a way to critique ideas of 'neoliberal occult economies'. Instead of 'occult interpretations' arising in an almost predetermined way as people revert to familiar idioms of sorcery to cope with their incomprehension at the changes wrought by neoliberalism, the article argues that the Nampula organ scandal shows that it is people's particular relationship to the State which explains the scandal rather than simply economic changes. That is why this particular scandal ended up speaking far more convincingly to the fears of the better-off than of the poor. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]