Reconfiguring holding power in the Mozambican sugar industry

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch

Abstract

Power is a disputed concept, with various meanings, depending on how it is used and for what purposes. Power is more than just the ability to control our own destinies or to influence the behavior of another person or group. Having power allows us or somebody to shape the world in which we live. Power therefore exists and works in many different dimensions at once. As Lukes (2005) argues, power exists between people, places and institutions. In this paper we will grapple with the concept of power, taking as our starting point Khan´s concept of ‘holding power’ and relating it to different dimensions of power. This paper deploys the concept of ‘holding power’ as an analytical concept with which to understand the distribution of different forms of power in the sugar sector and show how they have been reconfigured over the last decade. The paper uses the recent history of the Mozambican sugar industry to illustrate how relations between the state, the party and investors created a strong policy alliance facilitated by privileged access to the European market have been reconfigured over the last decade. The paper argues that the particular policy alliance that drove the rehabilitation of the sugar industry since the mid-1990s has been reconfigured over the last decade as the European Union’s accompanying measures have seen small and medium Mozambican cane-growers emerge as an increasingly powerful force with the rapid expansion of the industry. The paper adopts Mushtaq Khan’s concept of ‘holding power’, that is, ‘the capability of an individual or group to engage and survive in conflicts’, to analyze changes in policy alliances and in the relations between the state, the party, investors, the European Union and small and medium cane-producers. The paper suggests that fresh reflections are required on what constitutes power, the concept of powerand the potential of the concept of holding power for analyzing the relative strengths and weaknesses of different actors.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2019
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventWorkshop on the Politics of Economic Policy in African Countries: The Oxford Martin Programme on African Governance - Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, 34 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BD, Oxford, United Kingdom
Duration: 31 Jan 20191 Feb 2019

Workshop

WorkshopWorkshop on the Politics of Economic Policy in African Countries
LocationSeminar Rooms 1 & 2, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, 34 Broad Street, Oxford, OX1 3BD
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityOxford
Period31/01/201901/02/2019

Cite this

Buur, L. (2019). Reconfiguring holding power in the Mozambican sugar industry. 1-25. Paper presented at Workshop on the Politics of Economic Policy in African Countries, Oxford, United Kingdom.