The quest for a broader reform of the current political regime and for equitable redistribution of Angola's wealth constitutes the most surmountable challenge this country faces since the end of civil war in 2002. State power has become a personalized affair to the extent of perpetuating an entrenched, centralised and overly bureaucratic structure of governance. To understand these dynamics, this book explores the role of the 'public' in post-war Angolan politics.The reality mimics the activities of a 'genuine' public sphere, yet such a 'public sphere' is owned and controlled by the regime. The review of the Angolan context begins with Juergen Habermas's seminal contribution on the theme of the public sphere, and the debate it elicited. Subsequently, it is argued that for many reasons Habermas's approach is not suitable for studying the 'public' in Angola. This work outlines an alternative approach in which the 'public' is constituted through practices of truth-telling as studied by Michel Foucault.Furthermore, the constitutional, legal, political and socio-economic framework within which the public sphere exists is taken into account. Finally, the book examines the workings of the 'public' during and after Pope Benedict's visit to Angola in 2009, as well as looking at one of the country's few media outlets that managed to preserve its independence vis-a-vis the political regime, the catholic Radio Ecclesia.The present book is timely and will certainly deepen the knowledge about conditions of public life and look afresh at Angola's possibilities for further democratic development. Its primary readership will be scholars, students, politicians, policy-makers and civil society organizations. On the whole, this may prove to be an important and original contribution to the understanding of Angolan politics and society today.
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