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The ebb and flow of power: history and political culture among Hereros in southwest Africa

Grant number: 14/01637-5
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2014
Effective date (End): April 30, 2018
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Omar Ribeiro Thomaz
Grantee:Josué Tomasini Castro
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):16/19531-4 - Articulating legitimacy: power, culture and society, BE.EP.PD


The purpose of this project is to proceed to an investigation of the history and political culture's dillemas of the Herero in Namíbia, a small country in Southwest Africa. Living, in the past, in small seminomadic groups, related with eachother through a complex network of patri and matrilineal relations, their history is usually examined through the pointview of processes that around the 18th century has led to a gradual and always disputed centralisation of this communities around a small number of chieftancies. Since then, after a short period under the influence of the German Impire (1884-1914), a long and singular period under the control of the administration of the once called South African Union (1914-1990), and their more recent incorporation into the independent State of Namibia, their political thought has been approached with an insistent duality between "tradition" and "polítics", concealing the fluidity of these categories and thus concealing the continuous ebb and flow of the "power" of their leaders today. Aiming at contributing to the analysis of these fluctuations, this project will approach the idioms and the practice of "power" among Hereros from three complementary perspectives: the mystification of power, focusing on the interactive dinamic between culture and power; the geography of power, which refers to its circulation through a network of of various social relations and also to the interaction between territory and power; and the sociability of power, which attends to the many ways chiefs and councillors make their "power" relevant or not in distinct contexts. (AU)

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