Segregation, Inequality, and Urban Development

Forced Evictions and Criminalisation Practices in Present-Day South Africa

In present-day South Africa, urban development agendas have inscribed doctrines of desirable and undesirable life in city spaces and the public that uses the space. This book studies the ways in which segregated city spaces, displacement of people from their homes, and criminalization practices are structured and executed. Sara Dehkordi shows that these doctrines are being legitimized and legalized as part of a discursive practice and that the criminalization of lower-class members are part of that practice, not as random policing techniques of individual security forces, but as a technology of power that attends to the body, zooms in on it, screens it, and interrogates it.

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2. Juli 2020, 262 Seiten
ISBN: 978-3-8376-5310-6

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Sara Dehkordi

Sara Dehkordi, Freie Universität Berlin, Deutschland

1. Why did You chose this topic?

More than a decade ago, I realised that my understanding of the anti-apartheid struggle and the negotiated revolution that led to the official end of apartheid in 1994, was not only superficial but also highly eurocentric. There was a Thatcherist narrative making the round in European and other international mainstream media, that celebrated so-called non-violence and liberal-democratic elections in South Africa as one of the biggest achievements of the late 20th century. This narrative was not produced by accident but became integral part of a discursive practice that is being reproduced until today. At the same time, a major part of the liberal / neoliberal / monarchist Iranian opposition uses the Rainbow-Nation discourse of ›forgiveness‹ coupled with free-market dogmas, to create a specific image of the Iranian peoples' future. So, I went back to South Africa to learn from its people' struggles about the ways in which the subjects of these struggles envision the future and how they relate their lives to these narratives. And later, because I understood that Survival and Living are not the same thing, I wanted to see if it is possible to transmit some of the silenced histories of the South African peoples in a way that would help the broader international conversation about the role of archive related to state power, about forced evictions and criminalisation of the working classes and the ways in which urban renewal agendas attend to the body, exclude it and marginalise it, and about the historical formation of segregated city spaces in relation to colonial ideologies and the capitalist means of production.

2. What new perspectives does your book offer?

There lies a specific question in between each and every line of this book. It is the question about the possibilities of consciously creating third intellectual spaces in which the futures of the majority of people, not only of South Africa, but of the whole Global South, can be thought. Intellectualism not as an elitist project, but as a sphere in which people of different social classes and statuses can learn from each other and envision freedom and equal access to life together. Through this lens, the book offers a whole new understanding of forced evictions, criminalisation practices and urban development within which the different raced, gendered and classed strategies of neoliberal urbanism can be understood.

3. What makes your topic relevant for current research debates?

Neoliberal urbanism as part of a system of production and thought has been the theme of many scholarly works. Studies that focus on this theme have been conducted overtly, not only in the industrial countries but even much more so in what has been called the Third World. The study on which this book is based might help, together with other works that use a critical urban studies framework, new conversations on the role of archive, method and historiography, in relation to present-day criminalisation and marginalisation practices that affect the majority of the people living in the subject countries, to develop.

4. Choose one person you would like to discuss your book with!

Sabelo Mcinziba.

5. Your book summary in one sentence:

This book shows that we can speak of an institutionalised regime of inequality in South Africa to which highly securitised city spaces, displacement and criminalisation practices are central and in which Urban Development and City Improvement have become dogmatic projects that facilitate the enlargement of that inequality, excluding the majority of society from the design-focused, creative, fashionable and liveable cities.

Sara Dehkordi
Segregation, Inequality, and Urban Development Forced Evictions and Criminalisation Practices in Present-Day South Africa
transcript Verlag
kart., Dispersionsbindung, 19 SW-Abbildungen
POL045000 SOC031000 SOC050000
2. Juli 2020
Postkolonialismus, Raum, Rassismus, Politik, Soziale Ungleichheit
Urban Studies, Sociology, Political Science, Anthropology, History
Displacement, Segregation, South Africa, Urban Development, Inequality, Politics, Postcolonialism, Racism, Social Inequality, Space, Political Science

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