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Articulating legitimacy: power, culture and society

Grant number: 16/19531-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): December 29, 2016
Effective date (End): December 28, 2017
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Anthropology
Principal Investigator:Omar Ribeiro Thomaz
Grantee:Josué Tomasini Castro
Supervisor: Jekura Uaurika Kavari
Host Institution: Instituto de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas (IFCH). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Namibia (UNAM),  
Associated to the scholarship:14/01637-5 - The ebb and flow of power: history and political culture among Hereros in southwest Africa, BP.PD


This proposal is interested on the associations between power, culture and society on the fate of African and, more specifically, Herero chieftaincies in Namibia. With a focus on the areas of tension between symbolic and material conditions, discursive and practical knowledge, prescriptive and achievement ideals, it aims at recovering the importance of cultural expressions, concepts and idioms to our understanding of political processes in African contexts. Stressing the need of cultural-sensitive approaches to African politics and chieftaincy studies, it consider as insightful the discursive and language-specific aspect of political action, taking it as a central analytical concern. Having Herero history as the main source of investigation, and their chiefs as central characters, the objective is to throw light on chiefs' capacity to convey and articulate disparate meanings, creating contested versions of what tradition, modernity, the nation, the state, politics and the very idea of "Herero" might be. Paying attention to the dialectical relationship between ongoing negotiations of power and changing cultural orders, this project concentrates into the changing nature of political values and chiefs legitimating projects: their historical contingency; their central concepts; their association with other, simultaneous projects; and the cultural logic that underpinning them on Herero communities and Namibian society. On doing that, it is expected this project to significantly contribute no only to Namibian studies, but also to African studies more generally, particularly to the analysis and the theoretical and conceptual schemes of debates around the specificity of African political experiences. (AU)

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