This article applies Partha Chatterjee's concept of political society to the case of postwar urban Angola in order to draw attention to the everyday ways in which popular politics are practiced in Africa beyond episodic moments of popular revolt. It looks at the case of the Zango social-housing project, which was created to resettle evicted shack dwellers in Luanda. While in the initial stages of the project responses to resettlement were marked by bouts of protest and resistance against the state, over time these shifted to the emergence and formulation of informal strategies, arrangements, and understandings to claim, gain, and explain access to housing in the project, often in collaboration with state officials. Although the application of Chatterjee's work to Angola opens up useful avenues for comparative analysis, it also shows the particularities of the workings of popular politics under conditions of nondemocratic rule. It is by studying the daily workings of popular politics in relation to the actual and fragmented workings of the state that insight can be gained into the variegated nature of political practice and agency across the global south.

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