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Mettre à jour l’invisible administratif au Mozambique : Courriels, pièces jointes et clé USB

Abstract : Informality and interpersonal relations characterized the first fieldwork I conducted in Maputo, Mozambique, in 2009 as part of my PhD thesis in political science. I was imposed the use of the mobile phone or emails to communicate with my interviewees. My study of the making of regulatory texts in the nature conservation sector was considerably enhanced after my email address was added to collective email exchanges through which actors shared views and documents. These actors - high officials and donors’ representatives - were directly involved in policymaking. The documents circulated through these email exchanges were drafts of the regulatory texts at the centre of my study. I also accessed other similar documents through flash drives. Getting access to documents through emails and flash drives was thus decisive for my work. These tools opportunely made it possible to overcome the overall difficulty of both apprehending and understanding the state at work - which grey literature, interviews and regulatory texts cannot fully capture. Accessing sources through digital channels consequently allowed me to unveil the administrative hidden that was all the more invisible as part of the administrative work now passes through digital channels. In this respect, they have become essential tools for documenting the moving processes of policymaking. They raise methodological questions: can my presence on these collective email exchanges be equated with classic ethnographic observation? They also raise ethical questions: are these sources private? If they are, how and to what extent can I use them in my study?
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Rozenn Nakanabo Diallo. Mettre à jour l’invisible administratif au Mozambique : Courriels, pièces jointes et clé USB. Sources. Material & Fieldwork in African Studies, IFRA Nairobi, 2020, pp.79-95. ⟨halshs-02864110⟩

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