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African FuturesEssays on Crisis, Emergence, and Possibility$
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Brian Goldstone and Juan Obarrio

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226402246

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226402413.001.0001

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Time and Again: Locality as Future Anterior in Mozambique

Time and Again: Locality as Future Anterior in Mozambique

(p.181) Thirteen Time and Again: Locality as Future Anterior in Mozambique
African Futures

Juan Obarrio

University of Chicago Press

Africa constantly re-emerges in the international imagination and culture as the place of apparent returns. Pervasive struggles over the possibility of sociality appear as figures of reversal of progress, through which memory, myth and metaphysics still form the bases of political community. This paper explores autochtony and locality: custom and land, the time-space of recurrence and the projection of mythic pasts into an open future. The paradox of custom is analyzed as source of conflict and also as remedy in post-conflict situations, where it might reproduce a previous alienation of vast populations. The aporia of land is studied as a place of return, but also exodus, expulsion and exile. These objects constitute moments of recurrence and negation, between the violence that interrupts democracy and the force of law. The discussion explores the potential of Nietzsche's eternal return for a study of custom and the return to the land, in order to elucidate aspects of contemporary Africa. Is this process a vicious circle or do the cycles of difference and repetition imply a constant reconfiguration of future pasts? Is the African eternal return a deepening of negativity and decay, or, rather, an ultimate movement of affirmation of a politics of life?

Keywords:   Mozambique, locality, autochtony, memory, customary

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