Accepted paper:

Appropriating Lulism: how Brazil shaped Angola's "idea of state" in the late Dos Santos era (2003-2011).

Author:

Mathias Alencastro (Brazilian Center for Planning and Analysis)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation examines how Brazilians shaped Angola's idea of state - understood here as the symbolic practices meant to ensure the legitimacy of state domination. It argues that Brazilians reinvented the narrative of the state in an attempt to perpetuate and relegitmise the Dos Santos' regime.

Paper long abstract:

Mostly concerned with its diplomatic and commercial underpinnings, existing studies on Brazil-Angola relations in tend to analyse Brazil merely as a "new" international player interested in oil, mining and infrastructure, with little attention paid to the interconnections between Brazilian and Angolan state and private sector actors and what they mean for the nature of politics in Angola. The gap in the literature is significant, for Brazilian established far more than trade deals and joint-ventures: under the Lula government, Brazilians have contributed to shape the very narrative of state development of Dos Santos, through the actions of political agents, corporations and even marketing experts. To fill this lacuna, this presentation offers a case study on how Brazilians shaped Angola's idea of state - understood here as the symbolic practices meant to ensure the legitimacy of state domination. Drawing on a wide range of untapped official documents as well as interviews, it argues that Brazilians reinvented the narrative of the Angolan state in order to perpetuate and relegitmise the Dos Santos' regime. The failure of this unique project partly explains why the Dos Santos regime unraveled far faster than everyone expected.

panel Econ29
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