Contrapuntal cosmopolitanism: distantiation as social relatedness among house-builders in Maputo, Mozambique
Article first published online: 3 NOV 2010
© 2010 European Association of Social Anthropologists.
Volume 18, Issue 4, pages 396–402, November 2010
How to Cite
Nielsen, M. (2010), Contrapuntal cosmopolitanism: distantiation as social relatedness among house-builders in Maputo, Mozambique. Social Anthropology, 18: 396–402. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8676.2010.00122.x
- Issue published online: 3 NOV 2010
- Article first published online: 3 NOV 2010
- urban planning;
- relational ontology;
- failed state;
This article explores forms of social relatedness among peri-urban residents in Maputo, Mozambique, which have as their premise that social interaction occurs in a world that is both unknown and potentially dangerous. As I show, reciprocal encounters are therefore based on creating distance rather than approximation. Although people acknowledge the crucial importance of social others, it is important to maintain appropriate distances in order to avoid awakening unwanted desires. I consequently introduce the notion of contrapuntal cosmopolitanism to designate the production of viable (reciprocal) distances in unfamiliar milieux peopled by important but also capricious others.