Recognition, Community and the Power of Mobility in Africa's New Urban Estuaries
Posted: 18 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 18, 2013
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.
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