[Webinar] Disrupted Dreams of Development: Neoliberal Efficiency and Crisis in Angola [by Jon Schubert]

Joao Baptista's picture
February 18, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, African History / Studies

Dear colleagues, 


We would like to invite you to join us for the next webinar organized by the Research Group Identities, Cultures, Vulnerabilities at the Instituto de Ciências Sociais of the University of Lisbon (ICS-ULisboa). The webinar will take place Thursday, 18 February 2021 at 11 am GMT. 


Jon Schubert (Brunel University London) will present and discuss Disrupted Dreams of Development: Neoliberal Efficiency and Crisis in Angola with us. Access to the webinar is free.


Enter the webinar (18 February, 11h):



Disrupted Dreams of Development: Neoliberal Efficiency and Crisis in Angola



Thanks to oil revenues Angola has, since the end of the war in 2002, largely eschewed the usual donor conditionalities in its state-led reconstruction process; the 2014 oil price drop, however, revealed the limits of this economic miracle. Coupled with a long-overdue political transition inside the ruling party this moment of designated crisis has opened spaces for elites to inject their continued projects of accumulation with the moralising language of neoliberalism — talk of efficiency, responsibility, and the proverbial tightening of the belt. Based on fieldwork around the recently modernised transport hub of Lobito, the article examines how these tropes have been deployed to position Angola as a ‘business-friendly’ environment and justify largely self-inflicted austerity measures. By examining the everyday working of real-existing neoliberalism, the paper suggests that moments of crisis provide a fertile ground to advance, through neoliberal rhetoric, agendas of capital capture, cloaking them in the mantle of commonsensical reasonableness and national solidarity. 


Jon Schubert is a political and economic anthropologist with extensive ethnographic fieldwork experience in urban Angola and Mozambique. He is currently a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, Brunel University London, and carrying out research on infrastructures, oil-dependency, and crisis in Lobito, Angola. He has held teaching and research positions and fellowships at the Universities of Leipzig, Sussex, and the Graduate Institute, Geneva.  He is the author of Working the System: A Political Ethnography of the New Angola (Cornell University Press 2017), an editor at allegralaboratory.net, and a co-editor of the IAI's book series 'Politics and Development in Contemporary Africa'.


Attached you will find the poster for the event. 

We look forward to seeing you on 18 February. 


All the best

João Baptista

Rita Reis

Ana Margarida Santos