Recognition, Community and the Power of Mobility in Africa's New Urban Estuaries

Posted: 18 Apr 2013

See all articles by Loren Landau

Loren Landau

University of the Witwatersrand

Date Written: April 18, 2013

Abstract

This paper explores what heightening urban fluidity means for practical expressions of state power and governance. Using material from Maputo, Johannesburg, and Nairobi, it argues that by working against the standardisation of norms, values, and institutional interactions, mobility is hindering the consolidation of centralised forms of regulation in ways that have significant implications for how we conceptualise and practice governance. The results include translocal and decentred political authority in which states are but one of many actors and instigators. Without the ability of a single body or consortia to centralise these regulatory systems, African cities are unlikely to serve as progenitors for the kind of nationalism and centralised domination seen elsewhere in the world. Instead, we are witness to multiple visions or ‘faces’ where the state and the regulations associated with it exist in varied forms among the resident populations.

Suggested Citation

Landau, Loren, Recognition, Community and the Power of Mobility in Africa's New Urban Estuaries (April 18, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2253743

Loren Landau (Contact Author)

University of the Witwatersrand ( email )

1 Jan Smuts Avenue
GA 2000
South Africa

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