Political Identity and Conflict in Central Angola 1975-2002 - book launch
Dr Justin Pearce (POLIS, University of Cambridge)
Discussant: Professor Christopher Clapham (Centre of African Studies)
This book examines the internal politics of the war that divided Angola for more than a quarter-century after its independence. It emphasises the Angolan people’s relationship to the rival political forces that prevented the development of a united nation, an aspect of the conflict that has received little attention in earlier studies. Drawing upon interviews with farmers, town dwellers, soldiers and politicians in Central Angola, Justin Pearce examines the ideologies about nation and state that elites deployed in pursuit of hegemony and traces how people responded to these attempts at politicisation. The book not only demonstrates the potency of the rival conceptions of state and nation in shaping perceptions of self-interest and determining political loyalty, but also shows the ways in which allegiances could and did change for much of the Angolan population in response to the experience of military force.