Rights, identities and belonging: Reflections on the everyday politics of urban citizenship in Delft, Cape Town


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Taylor & Francis

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The purpose of the article is to explore the complex and contested politics of urban citizenship in relation to everyday spaces in Delft, a poor township in Cape Town South Africa. The arguments build upon a decade of ethnographic research on community politics and organizing relating to housing in Delft, Cape Town. Through illustrative examples, the author shows how housing rights and policies have been mediated through and imbricated with racial identities, residential status and notions of belonging in the community. She finds that these subjectivities are not inherent in conflict but often overlap and work simultaneously in community organizing and practice. These findings inform a critical engagement with current rethinking of urban citizenship in the Global South. The author argues that attention to the ordinary and everyday practices of citizenship may lead to a better understanding of how political subjectivities and agency are produced and practised. She concludes by proposing three dimensions that could guide a research agenda on everyday politics of urban citizenship: reconstructions of political subjectivities through state–society encounters, implications of differentiated subjectivities for how urban citizenship is perceived and claimed, and what practices of citizenship are seen as expressions of political agency.




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  • http://hdl.handle.net/10642/5258