Dr Jason Sumich

Senior Lecturer
Department of Sociology and Criminology
Dr Jason Sumich
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872641

  • Location

    5A.316, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    Wednesdays 11.30-1.30 on zoom. Email me to make an appointment



I am a political anthropologist who studied at University of California Santa Barbara, University of Cape Town and the London School of Economics. Before coming to the University of Essex, I have worked at the London School of Economics, University of Fort Hare, University of Pretoria, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the German Institute of Global Area Studies (GIGA). My geographic focus is southern Africa, primarily Mozambique, where I have been conducting research since 2002 on issues of class formation and the relationships between privileged members of society and the state. This research has resulted in a number of journal articles and a monograph, 'The Middle Class in Mozambique: The State and the Politics of Transformation in Southern Africa', which was published by Cambridge University Press in 2018. My current research explores emerging forms of urban governance and control and I am the co-director of the project 'Enclaving: Patterns of Global Futures in Three African Cities' funded by the Norwegian Research Council.


  • BA University of California, Santa Barbara, (1998)

  • MA University of Cape Town, (2001)

  • PhD London School of Economics and Political Science, (2006)

Research and professional activities

Conferences and presentations

First as Tragedy then as Farce: Gülenist exiles, City-Building, and South/South Relations in Maputo, Mozambique

European Congress of African Studies, European Congress of African Studies, 1/6/2023

Urban Enclaving

African Studies Association, Association of African Studies, Philadelphia, United States, 19/11/2022

Para Viver Bem: Distinction from Above and Below

Association of African Studies Annual Conference, Piscataway, United States, 19/11/2022

Urban Enclaving

Grant meeting, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa, 28/4/2022

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • Crime, Control, and the City (SC102)

  • The Sociological Imagination (SC111)

  • Cities and Power (SC210)

  • PhD Colloquium 2: Conducting and Communicating Your Research (SC803)

  • PhD Colloquium 3: Disseminating Your Research (SC804)

Previous supervision

Thitirat Kittiwiwat
Thitirat Kittiwiwat
Thesis title: The Complexity of a Supply Chain: Political Ecology of Corn Production in Nan Province, Thailand
Degree subject: Sociology
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 10/8/2022


Journal articles (17)

Sumich, J., (2023). Building Walls to Tame Time: Enclaves and the Enduring Power of Failure.. Economy and Society. 52 (1), 137-157

Nielsen, M., Sumich, J. and Bertelsen, BE., (2021). Enclaving: Spatial Detachment as an Aesthetics of Imagination in an urban sub-Saharan African context. Urban Studies. 0 (5), 881-902

Sumich, J., (2021). ‘Just another African country’: socialism, capitalism and temporality in Mozambique. Third World Quarterly. 42 (3), 582-598

Sumich, J. and Bertelsen, BE., (2021). Just out of Reach: Imminence, Meaning, and Political Ontology in Mozambique. Current Anthropology. 62 (3), 287-308

Sumich, J. and Nielsen, M., (2020). The Political Aesthetics of Middle Class Housing in (not so) Neoliberal Mozambique. Antipode. 52 (4), 1216-1234

Sumich, J., (2020). Response by the author. Africa. 90 (3), 602-603

Buur, L. and Sumich, J., (2019). ‘No Smoke without Fire’: Citizenship and Securing Economic Enclaves in Mozambique. Development and Change. 50 (6), 1579-1601

Sumich, J., (2016). The Uncertainty of Prosperity: Dependence and the Politics of Middle-Class Privilege in Maputo. Ethnos. 81 (5), 821-841

Sumich, J., (2013). Tenuous Belonging: Citizenship and Democracy in Mozambique. Social Analysis. 57 (2)

Sumich, J., (2010). Partido fuerte, ¿Estado débil?: Frelimo y la supervivencia estatal a través de la guerra civil en Mozambique. Revista de Estudios Sociales (37), 13-29

Sumich, J., (2010). Does all that is Solid Melt into Air: Questioning Neo-Liberal Occult Economies in Mozambique. Kronos: Southern African Histories. 37, 13-29

Sumich, J., (2010). The Party and the State: Frelimo and Social Stratification in Post-socialist Mozambique. Development and Change. 41 (4), 679-698

Sumich, J., (2009). Modernity Redirected: Socialism, Liberalism and the National Elite in Mozambique. Cambridge Anthropology. 28 (2), 1-24

Sumich, J., (2008). Politics after the Time of Hunger in Mozambique: A Critique of Neo-Patrimonial Interpretation of African Elites. Journal of Southern African Studies. 34 (1), 111-125

Sumich, J., (2008). Contruir uma Nação: Ideologias de Modernidade da Elite Moçambicana. Análise Social. 43 (2), 319-345

Sumich, J., (2005). Book Review: Elusive Consumption. Critique of Anthropology. 25 (4), 439-440

Sumich, J., (2002). Looking for the Other: Tourism, Power and Identity in Zanzibar. Anthropology of Southern Africa. 25 (1&2), 39-45

Books (1)

Sumich, J., (2018). The Middle Class in Mozambique The State and the Politics of Transformation in Southern Africa. Cambridge University Press. 1108472885. 9781108472883

Book chapters (5)

Sumich, J., (2016). The Politics of the Blank Slate: Middle Class Formation in Mozambique. In: The Rise of Africa's Middle Class Myths, Realities and Critical Engagements. Editors: Melber, H., . Zed Books Ltd.. 159- 169. 1783607165. 9781783607167

Sumich, J., (2016). The middle class of Mozambique and the politics of the blank slate. In: The rise of Africa’s middle class. Zed Books. 9781783607136

Sumich, J., (2014). Neither Nationals nor Cosmopolitans: The Political Economy of Belonging in Mozambique. In: People, Money and Power in the Economic Crisis: Perspectives from the Global South. Editors: Hart, K. and Sharp, J., . Berghahn Books. 173- 189

Sumich, J., (2013). Frelimo. In: The Encyclopedia of Race and Racism 2nd Edition. Editors: Mason, P., . MacMillian New York. 189- 190

Sumich, J., (2012). An Imaginary Nation: Nationalism, Ideology and the Mozambican National Elite. In: Sure Road? Nationalisms and Nations in Angola, Guinea-Bissau and Mozambique. Editors: Morier-Genoud, E., . Brill Publishing. 127- 148. 9789004222618

Grants and funding


Enclaving: Patterns of global futures in three African cities

Research Council of Norway

+44 (0) 1206 872641


5A.316, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

Wednesdays 11.30-1.30 on zoom. Email me to make an appointment