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European migration to Africa and the coloniality of knowledge: the Portuguese in Maputo

Journal article
Authors Lisa Åkesson
Published in Third World Quarterly
ISSN 0143-6597
Publication year 2020
Published at School of Global Studies
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2020.17...
Keywords coloniality of knowledge, coloniality of being, postcolonialism, integration, Portuguese migrants, Mozambique, Development Studies
Subject categories Social and Economic Geography

Abstract

This article is about people living in the Global South who in their daily interactions cross what Boaventura de Sousa Santos calls 'the abyssal line'. It portrays encounters between Portuguese migrants and Mozambican locals in the capital city of Maputo. The article specifically focuses on their interactions at workplaces and highlights the narratives through which they talk about and practise the transfer of knowledge taking place between them. An absolute fundament in these processes is the coloniality of knowledge or the epistemic dimension of (post)colonial domination. As the author demonstrates, both parties have naturalised the coloniality of knowledge, which implies that Portuguese migrants tend to see it as their inherent and natural right and duty to lecture and train the Mozambicans they work with. The Portuguese's epistemological approach is intimately tied to their understanding of Mozambicans as human beings - or, in other words, the coloniality of knowledge goes hand in hand with the coloniality of being, or the existential dimension of (post)colonial domination. The author's analysis revolves around the attitudes of the Portuguese, as described by themselves, but the article ends with a representation of Mozambican discursive attempts to unsettle Portuguese dominant positions and thereby resist the coloniality of being.

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