Contesting hegemony : civil society and the struggle for social change in Zimbabwe, 2000-2008

Ncube, Cornelias (2010). Contesting hegemony : civil society and the struggle for social change in Zimbabwe, 2000-2008. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


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This thesis employs Gramsci’s language of hegemony in order, firstly, to explore the role of civil society in legitimating and resisting state hegemony, and secondly, to examine the sociological basis of counter-hegemonic politics in post-2000 Zimbabwe. The thesis arose out of a critique of reductionist approaches in the theorising and study of changing state-society relations in post-2000 Zimbabwe that identifies civil society exclusively with opposition politics and excludes organisations aligned to the ruling party, and therefore resulting in functionalist discussions that view civil society as necessarily anti-state. This thesis demonstrates however that a dense hegemonic civil society also exists and it is organically aligned to ZANU-PF in its advocacy for a social change based on a radical transformed terrain of the relations of social forces of production, vis-à-vis land redistribution, albeit implementing this vision through coercive violence, persuasive but exclusionary discourses of radical nationalism, Afro-radicalism and nativism. Confronting it, is an equally militant counter-hegemonic civil society aligned to the MDC, and it deploys the discourses of constitutionalism and human rights to resist state hegemony and to unravel the violent nature of ZANU-PF’s nationalist project, but in ways devoid of a serious critique of the structural inequalities of a post-independent Zimbabwe.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: School of Government and Society, Department of International Development
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
D History General and Old World > DT Africa


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