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Centre of African Studies: People


Jon Schubert

Jon Schubert
Jon Schubert
Research Interests
Power (domination, authority, legitimacy), political anthropology, history and politics of Lusophone Africa and the Balkans, African politics, postsocialism

Biographical statement

I successfully defended my thesis at the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh in March 2014. I am currently a guest lecturer in political anthropology at the anthropology department of Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg and Senior Africa Analyst at IHS Country Risk and Forecasting.

Before my PhD, I studied History and Sociology at the University of Basel for my undergraduate studies, before completing my MA in African Studies there in December 2007. During this time, I did several short-term internships, research, and consultancies in Angola, Ghana and Mozambique. After my graduation I worked for a year as a programme assistant in the peace policy section of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (2008-2009). I then completed the first year of doctoral studies at the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London (MPhil/PhD 2009/10), before transferring to Edinburgh in 2010.


PhD research project

My doctoral research is a political anthropology of 'the system' in post-war Angola. Based on one year of ethnographic fieldwork in the capital, Luanda (Oct. 2010 - Oct. 2011), I look at how people experience the 'sistema', the current sociopolitical system of Angola, and at the material and symbolic affects of authoritarian dominance on their daily lives. By looking at how ideas of political legitimacy and authority are negotiated through, for example, the personalisation of relations, economic strategies, or memory narratives, this research aims to complicate ideas of hegemony, electoral authoritarianism, and shed new light on Angola's postwar transition.  This research ultimately enables us to expand the focus of the research to look at broader issues of national identity in Angola, the largely unaddressed question of post-conflict national reconciliation, and ultimately the transformation of statehood in Southern Africa.

PhD supervised by Dr. Joost Fontein and Dr. Sara Rich Dorman.


Future research

In addition to working on publications based on my doctoral research, I am developing a new, comparative project on new political subjectivities in resource-rich neo-authoritarian countries, based, in my case, on fieldwork in Angola and Gabon, as well as more theoretical work on the quantification of risk and the idea of 'forecasting', based on my work experience. 



This site will no longer be updated from 31 Dec 2014 - for an updated list of publications, please see my profile:

Refereed journal articles:

Schubert, Jon (2010) 'Democratisation' and the Consolidation of Political Authority in Post-War Angola, Journal of Southern African Studies, 36.3, 657-672.  

Refereed book chapters:

Schubert, Jon (2012) Angola (Chapter) in: A. Mehler, H. Melber, K. van Walraven (eds.) Africa Yearbook. Politics, Economy and Society South of the Sahara in 2011, vol. 8, Leiden, Boston: Brill.

[See also AYB 2010/vol.7; AYB 2009/vol.6; AYB 2008/Vol.5]

Other articles and working papers:

Angola: violent repression of peaceful protests highlights risks of dos Santos succession,

Schubert, Jon (2013) "Democratização" e consolidação do poder político em Angola no pós-guerra, Relações Internacionais 37, 79-98 (edited Portuguese version of 2010 JSAS article). 

Schubert, Jon (2012) Verdades incómodas da África emergente, review of R. Marques, ‘Diamantes de Sangue. Corrupção e Tortura em Angola, Lisboa, Tinta-de-China 2011, in Relações Internacionais, 34, 119-122.

Angola Elections 2012: Dos Santos victory likely to bring more protests and violent repression,

Schubert, Jon (2011) Northern Winds in Angola? Ceasefire Special Report, September 2011.

Schubert, Jon (2009) Demokratisierung in Angola. Von Kriegswirtschaft zu einer Scheindemokratie? Afrika-Bulletin 136,  4-7.

Schubert, Jon (2005) Political Ecology in Development  Research. An Introductory Overview and Annotated Bibliography. Bern: NCCR North-South.

Conference papers:

Schubert, Jon (2012) A Revolution Betrayed. Survivors of the 27 de Maio 1977 and competing claims of political legitimacy in contemporary Angola. Paper presented at the ASA UK Conference, Leeds, 6-8 September 2012.

Schubert, Jon (2012) Complicity and the ‘Culture of Immediatism’: negotiating political legitimacy and the limits of hegemonic domination in Angola. Paper presented at the ASA UK Conference, Leeds, 6-8 September 2012.

Schubert, Jon (2012) Ethics under Fire. Paper presented at the Researching Africa Day 2012, 03 March 2012, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

Schubert, Jon (2008) 'Dez jogadores contra um guarda-rede' –  State, Civil Society, and the Preparation of general Elections in Angola. VAD-conference, University of Basel, 17 May 2008


Associated Press

"Interesses económicos em Angola calam comunidade internacional", Deutsche Welle, 29.11.2013

"Investigador diz que "sistema" em Angola é incontornável", Voice of America, 29.01.2014

Interview, BBC4, World Tonight, 29.11.2013 (from 39:30)



Studentship from the School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh, for PhD studies (2010-2013)

Grant by Bolsa Rui Tavares, Lisbon, for fieldwork in Angola (2010/11)

Grant by Janggen-Pöhn-Stiftung, St. Gallen, for fieldwork in Angola (2010/11)

Grant by Theodor Engelmann-Stiftung, Basel, for doctoral studies (2009/10)

Grant by Heringa Stichting, Netherlands, for doctoral studies (2009-2011)

Various small grants for MA field research and writing up (2007)