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Hip Hop Activism: Dynamic Tension between the Global and Local in Mozambique
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism.
2018 (English)In: Journal of World Popular Music, ISSN 2052-4900, E-ISSN 2052-4919, Vol. 5, no 1, p. 50-70Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

From its inception in the late 1980s to the present day, hip hop culture in Mozambique underwent several stages in which the process of “keeping it real” was in constant negotiation with the association of the Global Hip Hop Nation (GHHN), and its local cultural and linguistic elements. This article, using tropes of temporality as the main framework, discusses how relocalization of the GHHN is constructed in Mozambican hip hop. There is a progressive connection between the past, present and future which is highlighted by local rappers. The article argues that Mozambican hip hop activism is built through acts of engagement in political tropes, in which local rappers are acting as spokesmen of the marginalized population through lyrics that claim citizenship. The political discourses produced during the Frelimo’s socialist governance era are rescued to challenge the liberal politics developed in the present democratic period, which, in large part, is contested by the population at the margin of the development. Therefore, local rappers’ lyrics address popular complaints related to some political decisions that negatively affect the population at the margins and lead to general societal malfunction. The local African languages that were ideologically marginalized since the colonial regime are now being rescued by local rappers as a way to contextualize them into contemporary, metropolitan and transnational languages. This linguistic relocalization indexes a new present and an aspiration for a different future, where these languages will be inserted together with Portuguese to allow communication in urban spaces. This engagement by rappers can be perceived as acts of linguistic citizenship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 5, no 1, p. 50-70
Keywords [en]
local African languages, linguistic citizenship, Mozambique, relocalization, temporality
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153576DOI: 10.1558/jwpm.36673ISI: 000436275300005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-153576DiVA, id: diva2:1187563
Available from: 2018-03-05 Created: 2018-03-05 Last updated: 2018-07-23Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Manufacturing Multilingualisms of Marginality in Mozambique: Exploring the Orders of Visibility of Local African Languages
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Manufacturing Multilingualisms of Marginality in Mozambique: Exploring the Orders of Visibility of Local African Languages
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Colonial era language policies and practices in Mozambique sought to render native African languages (and their speakers) invisible in public space. This ‘order of (in)visibility’ was later adopted by many African states, including Mozambique, by choosing the ex-colonial language as the one and only official language and prohibiting or ignoring the use of African languages in the interest of so-called national unity. Recent postcolonial democratization of African countries is seemingly beginning to change the colonial heritage of local linguistic underdevelopment, with the introduction of language policies that – on the surface at least – give more value to local African languages. This thesis argues, however, that African languages remain marginalized in systematic ways that replicate historical linguistic inequities. The three studies that make up the thesis focus on the technologies, spaces and mechanisms whereby these languages have been manufactured as marginalized from colonial times until the present. The studies build on a combination of ethnographic and archival data. A theoretical framing in a sociolinguistics of globalization approach broadly defined, and complemented with an explicit emphasis on temporality provides the conceptual framework and methodological toolbox for analysis. Study I explores the impact that colonial politics had on the management of multilingualism focusing on how local African languages were ideologically constructed as frozen in the past, whereas Portuguese was depicted as a modern, state-bearing language of progress. This ideology was later assimilated by the postcolonial regime always placing the local African languages in a position of inferiority in relation to Portuguese. Study II analyses how public space was used in chronologically different political regimes to produce different orders of visibility for local African languages and Portuguese in the semiotic landscapes of urban Maputo. The focus of this paper is on artifacts of memorization and public discourses that made local African languages invisible in public spaces until early 1990, when political changes introduced new orders of visibility for these languages in public space. However, ‘archaeological’ traces of Portuguese remain in the orthographic and linguistic forms in which local African languages are authored, testimony to its continued hegemony in public space. Study III explores how local African languages are now used in practices of hip hop relocalization, where ‘keeping it real’ and authenticity as features of the genre simultaneously serve to ideologically resuscitate political individuals such as the incorruptible President Samora Machel (1920–1986). In this way, the very marginalization – past-ness – of these languages carries a vibrant contemporary protest. The main thrust of the thesis is to argue that local African languages are discursively produced in temporal frames distinct from the mainstreaming of Portuguese. It is this that continues to reproduce the relative marginality of these languages.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Swedish and Multilingualism, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 66
Series
Dissertations in Bilingualism, ISSN 1400-5921 ; 29
Keywords
African languages, bilingualism, language ideology, linguistic landscape, Maputo, Mozambique, multilingualism, Portuguese, transnational multilingualism
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153564 (URN)978-91-7797-207-5 (ISBN)978-91-7797-208-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-05-24, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 C, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-04-27 Created: 2018-03-21 Last updated: 2018-04-20Bibliographically approved

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