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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Inside the government, but outside the law: residents' committees, public authority and twilight governance in post-war Angola
Author:Croese, Sylvia
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:Angola
Subjects:housing policy
popular participation
State-society relationship
Abstract:This article explores the workings of public authority in post-war Angola through an analysis of the history and current functioning of residents' committees at neighbourhood level in peri-urban Luanda, based on case-study research in the Zango housing project. While recognising that power in Angola is highly centralised, and the autonomy of regular state structures limited, it argues that, when power is studied from below, state officials and those they engage with can be seen to produce, recognise and negotiate public authority in multiple ways that are embedded in the country's political history. In doing so, the article aims to bring a sense of history and agency to what is commonly seen by scholars as a top-down and repressive project of state-building. Yet the twilight existence of residents' committees, as institutions that function, but are not officially recognised, as part of the state, also illustrates the deeply ambiguous nature of this endeavour as one that, although formally aimed at building a democratic state that follows the rule of law, continues to be deeply entrenched in informal practices that ultimately serve to preserve the ruling party's hold on power. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]