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Citizen, state, and the negotiation of development: the Nacala development corridor and the N13 highway rehabilitation programme.

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For rural citizens in developing countries, the extension of infrastructural networks into previously remote areas is one of the primary ways in which the state comes into view through development. In some countries, citizens affected by infrastructural development are able to negotiate with the state over local developmental outcomes through engagement with the state and the advocacy of interested intermediaries. An examination of Mozambique’s experiences, in this thesis, however suggests that the dominance of state power within developmental processes, as well as a lack of commitment to governance of the authoritarian Mozambican state, limits the ability of Mozambican citizens to equitably engage with the state over the negotiation of local developmental outcomes. The aim of this thesis is to analyse the development of the Nacala Development Corridor Programme and the N13 Highway Rehabilitation Project in northern Mozambique as a lens through which to more broadly interrogate the impacts of the development on local citizens and examine the relationship between citizen and state within development processes. The research contributes to theoretical debates, in which a gap exists for critical, English-language research, set within a developing nation context. The study adopts a qualitative and deductive explanatory case study design in order to evaluate the implications of the infrastructure interventions associated with the Nacala Development Corridor and the N13 Highway Rehabilitation. The study is rooted within the discipline of development studies and provides critical engagement with the theories of the developmental state and Mozambican neoliberalism. Furthermore, the study draws on Foucault’s concept of ‘governmentality,’ as well as a number of post-Foucauldian concepts in relation to state-citizen relations, in order to provide a set of analytical concepts for interpreting the interactions between citizen and state. This study reveals that in the case of the Nacala Development Corridor and the rehabilitation of the N13 Highway, state-citizen relations in Mozambique are complex, and are constantly being reshaped by the transformational impacts of infrastructural development. As a result of these developments, citizens along the N13 have altered their relationship with a previously distant government and are increasingly looking to hold the state accountable on development issues. The rehabilitation of the N13 in particular, has dramatically increased the number and nature of local communities’ interactions with state institutions by forcing affected individuals to negotiate their continued existence in relation to the road. However, processes of negotiation over local developmental outcomes are shallow, with the state dominant in decision-making. As a result, some citizens have turned to alternative forms of participation, such as lodging complaints, in order to have their voices heard. Such methods are unevenly available to citizens within the study area, and are largely ineffective in challenging the exertion of state power within development. However, the majority of citizens within the study area are reluctant to resist the state, instead demonstrating a passive sense of ‘uncritical’ citizenship evident in the term ‘governo papa’ in describing the role of the state.


Doctor of Philosophy in Environment and Development Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2017


Rural development projects--Mozambique., Infrastructure (Economics), Economic development projects--Mozambique., N13 Highway rehabilitation.