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Political Identity and Conflict in Central Angola, 1975–2002
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  • Cited by 8
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    This book has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Belchior, Ana Maria Sanches, Edalina Rodrigues and José, Gildo Matias 2018. Policy Congruence in a Competitive Authoritarian Regime: Learning from the Angolan Case. Journal of Asian and African Studies, Vol. 53, Issue. 2, p. 201.

    Åkesson, Lisa 2018. Postcolonial Portuguese Migration to Angola. p. 1.

    Larmer, Miles and Lecocq, Baz 2018. Historicising nationalism in Africa. Nations and Nationalism,

    Fisher, Jonathan 2017. Rebel Governance in Civil War. Civil Wars, Vol. 19, Issue. 2, p. 249.

    Martins, Vasco 2017. Politics of power and hierarchies of citizenship in Angola. Citizenship Studies, Vol. 21, Issue. 1, p. 100.

    Neto, Pedro Figueiredo 2017. The Consolidation of the Angola—Zambia Border: Violence, Forced Displacement, Smugglers and Savimbi. Journal of Borderlands Studies, Vol. 32, Issue. 3, p. 305.

    Gastrow, Claudia 2017. Aesthetic Dissent: Urban Redevelopment and Political Belonging in Luanda, Angola. Antipode, Vol. 49, Issue. 2, p. 377.

    Soares de Oliveira, Ricardo 2016. The struggle for the state and the politics of belonging in contemporary Angola, 1975–2015. Social Dynamics, Vol. 42, Issue. 1, p. 69.

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    Political Identity and Conflict in Central Angola, 1975–2002
    • Online ISBN: 9781139942027
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Book description

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.


'This book, based on difficult and path-breaking fieldwork and acute analytical skills, gives a jolt to much of the literature on violent conflicts and on politics in, especially, Africa: it brings questions of political identity, how it is formed and sustained, how it evolves, how it relates to violent conflict, back into the foreground and it refreshes ideas of national identity at the same time.'

Christopher Cramer - School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London

'This book is exceptional because of the hundreds of interviews Justin Pearce conducted with peasants loyal to both warring parties. Moreover, he is unique because he does not show a scintilla of preference between the MPLA and UNITA. Furthermore, he covers an interesting interregnum between the end of the war in 2002 and today.'

Gerald Bender - Associate Professor Emeritus, University of Southern California

'An essential reading for scholars and anyone interested in modern Angola. In this timely contribution, Justin Pearce’s penetrating analysis of nationalism and identity among the Ovimbundu from 1975 to 2002 shifts the focus from the conflict between MPLA and UNITA to how the population in the urban and rural areas of the central regions perceived their own interests and acted on them.'

Linda Heywood - Boston University

'Justin Pearce’s book sheds new light on the complexity of the stakes of the Angolan postcolonial civil war. It shows, convincingly, how the intertwining of political and ideological identities, communitarian and individual stakes, as well as Cold War proxy interests, fuelled, in a very complex way, this long conflict.'

Jean-Michel Mabeko-Tali - Howard University, Washington DC

'This is an exceptional book. Not only is this the finest study available on the politics of allegiance during the Angolan civil war, one of Africa’s deadliest and longest, and also least understood; it is also a pivotal contribution to the study of conflict, nation building, and identity formation in the post-Cold War period.'

Ricardo Soares de Oliveira - University of Oxford

'Studies on identity are not rare in Angola. Urban identity, or Angolanidade, has been the source of a number of scholarly undertakings. What is highly commendable in Pearce’s book is his treatment of another form of identity that has received less attention: rural identity. This book is particularly concerned with the motivations of those who joined and fought for UNITA. The outcome is, then, a discussion on political identity that avoids the traps of ethnic essentialism and embraces a concept of identity that is contingent and strategic. In this regard, this book is about the agency of those who fought for UNITA.'

António Tomás - University of Stellenbosch, South Africa

'Justin Pearce’s work on political identity adds to the group of recent books on Angola that have broken new ground and shed new light on conflict, politics, identity and the dynamics of rule in Angola.'

Source: Africa - News and Analysis (

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