Episodes of Ambiguity: Steps Towards Socialism in Zimbabwe, 1980-1985

Law, K. (2009) Episodes of Ambiguity: Steps Towards Socialism in Zimbabwe, 1980-1985. Australasian Review of African Studies, 30 (1). pp. 49-63. ISSN 1447-8420

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With the benefit of hindsight, and in light of the current crisis, a growing number of authors have concluded that Zanu (PF) and Robert Mugabe's relationship with socialism was never more than a cynical slogan employed to mobilise the masses. By contrast, this paper will argue that such interpretations are mistaken. Indeed, an examination of Zanu (PF)'s welfare initiatives in the period 1980-1985 uncovers 'episodes of ambiguity' pointing towards a possible socialist future. Yet as this paper also acknowledges, these moments coexisted with and were soon superseded by authoritarian alternatives. The particular nature of Zimbabwe in this period has been much debated. Both at the time and subsequently, many observers questioned why the country had failed to experience the socialist transformation that Zanu (PF) once promised, given the fact that in the early 1980s the government was implementing a type of socialism that was loosely constructed around welfare provisions. This paper revisits the early 1980s when Zanu (PF) to some extent engaged with socialism on more than a rhetorical level; when a socialist future seemed possible.

Publication Type: Articles
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Arts and Humanities > History
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Kate Law
Date Deposited: 16 Jan 2017 09:54
Last Modified: 16 Jan 2017 09:54
URI: https://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/2296

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