Legacies of Empire: Frelimo and its Socialization in Transnational Fields of Anticolonial Resistance

Informal transnational networks played a major role in almost all African liberation struggles, most of the times established around universities in the “metropole(s)” and spanning not only the “third” world. By focusing on the case of Frelimo in Mozambique, I trace the legacies of the Portuguese Empire by analyzing how such transnational social spaces of activism evolved around an international community of liberation fighters from the Portuguese colonies in Lisbon and try to assess their meaning for the formation, evolution and strategic direction of the “national” liberation movement. By drawing on Bourdieu’s field theory I will trace the processes of socialization of Frelimo’s ruling elite in transnational fields. The analysis shows how a certain habitus and various sorts of capital gained as assimilados in the colonial society enabled them to get access to the transnational field in the first place. Their socialization in transnational networks enabled them to mobilize international support and brought them into leading positions inside the movement. They gained symbolic power which led to both legitimacy and frame-alignment internally and externally, as well as contestation by more “traditional” leaders. The paper is based on archival research in Maputo, Berlin and Lisbon, as well as biographical material and interviews with former Frelimo leaders and combatants conducted on field trips in summer 2014 and fall 2015.

About the Author

Daniel Kaiser

Since January 2013 I have been working as a Research Fellow on the research project “Transnational Escalation Mechanisms of Violent Dissidence” (http://dissidenz.net/en/projects/transnational- escalation/) with the Chair for International Organizations (Prof. Dr. Christopher Daase) at Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany. In this project I am working on a case study concerning transnational cooperation and its impact on the (de-)radicalization of anticolonial dissident movements in southern Africa, with a special emphasis on FRELIMO in Mozambique. I hold a Master Degree in Political Science and have previously worked as student assistant at the Chair of International Relations and Development Studies (Prof. Dr. Doris Fuchs) at the University of Münster. My thesis was completed with the help of a travel and research stipend from the DAAD to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. My main research interests are Social Movements, Political Violence, Postcolonial Theory and Development in the lusophone world.


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