Materiality, Morality and Masculinities in the Social Transformations of War in Angola

John Spall, Maria Abranches

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In this article we use men’s changing investments in desired material objects as a window into the changing moralities underpinning masculinities in the wake of Angola’s civil war. Drawing on participant observation and life history interviews with middle-aged men working in informal commerce in the city of Huambo, we examine the roles of land, houses, and cars in the construction of different styles of masculinity. We argue that analyzing differences among men’s investments in these objects provides useful insights into how men construct multireferential masculinities in a contested postcolonial, postwar context in which questions of gendered cultural hegemony are contentious and complex. These masculinities map onto competing, yet overlapping, sets of moral values that rework preexisting gendered cultural forms and practices to cope with the social and economic consequences of the war and to express aspirations for disparate modernities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMen and Masculinities
Early online date20 Jan 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 20 Jan 2021


  • Africa
  • anthropology
  • ethnography
  • fatherhood
  • hegemonic masculinity
  • identity
  • marriage
  • religion
  • war


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