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Abstract

This paper does not presume to offer definitive answers to complex questions raised around the new emphasis on "local communities" in Mozambique. Such answers vary and depend upon the sociopolitical histories of each community. Instead, the paper briefly explores the concept of local community in the lexicon of Mozambican law as well as NGO and donor discourse. This paper argues that a simplified representation of local communities as harmonious and homogeneous units served a useful purpose in the era of postwar reconciliation and reconstruction. Now that local communities have begun a process of empowerment, however, these idealized representations must be broadened to more accurately define and address the issues of community territoriality and community representation. This must be done in such a way so as not to promote political polarization nor exacerbate social inequalities predicated on gender, lineage or other biological characteristics.

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