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HOme WAves. Home-making and life trajectories in flood-risk areas of Central Mozambique


HOWA is an interdisciplinary research project belonging to critical African Studies, examining how home-making is reshaped under flood risk exposure in Central Mozambique. The project is premised on the conception of homes as speaking subjects telling us about the entanglements between individual paths, kinship, the environment and the socio-political context. In Mozambique’s low-income contexts, as elsewhere in Africa, people speak through their homes. House-building is a self-authored material and symbolic (non-verbal) language and, therefore, a fertile analytical field. In conditions of material, social and symbolic disruption, as is the case with repeated experiences of flooding, home-making and house building together reveal the complex life paths enacted within (and without) them. Floods are a major and increasingly frequent cause of disaster in eastern Sub-Saharan Africa. 30% of Mozambicans live in permanent flood vulnerability. HOWA investigates how home-making is reshaped in terms of (i) materiality, (ii) sociality and (iii) temporality under enduring flood exposure and displacement. It examines which life trajectories are enacted by, entangled with, and redirect through, the act of home-making before and after flood exposure. A relational and interdisciplinary approach is applied to the multiple dimensions of displacement and resettling. Different types of settings (urban neighbourhoods, resettlement sites, transitional areas) are studied with clusters of methods guided by an ethnographic and house biographical approach. The method itself becomes a form of activism enacted through the research process. By innovatively combining analysis of home-making, displacement, and life trajectories, HOWA in-depth, micro-scale studies hold both social and policy relevance in a time in which disaster-related displacement of vulnerable people is becoming more frequent, transforming interventions through revealing the links between risk and spatial and social belonging.


Net EU contribution
€ 230 774,40
Norregade 10
1165 Kobenhavn

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Danmark Hovedstaden Byen København
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
No data