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Title: Diamond politics in the Angolan periphery : colonial and postcolonial Lunda 1917-2002
Author: Jourdain de Alencastro, Mathias
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Angola is currently the fifth-largest diamond producer in the world. Yet neither the politics nor the history of Angola's diamond trade receives much attention either in the Angolan scholarship or the thematic literature on the mining sector more generally. The gap in the literature is significant, for diamond companies produce far more than revenue and profits: for some one hundred years, the diamond sector has governed, policed, defended, and controlled the strategic, diamond-rich provinces of Lunda Sul and Lunda Norte. This thesis explores the historical trajectory of the diamond sector in the Lundas. It concentrates on the powerfully symbiotic relationship between the diamond sector and the state from the colonial period to the present time. Drawing on a wide range of untapped official documents as well as interviews, it argues that the diamond sector has functioned historically as the conduit through which the state projects its power and secures its interests in a strategic but hostile territory. The thesis further shows how the politics of resource control both define the state’s strategies towards the diamond sector and perpetuate the entrenched system of privatised governance that has existed in the Lundas for more than a century. The thesis builds upon both the historical and contemporary literature on the mining sector and the literature on state formation. It challenges the conventional notion that the persistent power of private companies in Africa is the result of state weakness or state absence, underlining instead how state leaders instrumentalise and empower companies according to their changing priorities. It also considers the implications of this case study more broadly through a cross-case analysis of mining politics elsewhere in Africa. In the process, this study provides an original approach to state–mining sector relations that is of relevance to scholars working on the politics and political economy of state-making and of resources extraction in Africa.
Supervisor: Soares de Oliveira, Ricardo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Governance in Africa ; Political science ; Political economy of markets and states ; Angola ; diamond sector ; Lunda ; Lunda Sul ; Lunda Norte