Amaoti and Pumwani: Studying urban informality in South Africa and Kenya

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Based on the authors’ parallel projects of research and fieldwork in
urban informal settlements in Durban and Nairobi, the article uses
comparison to bring out similarities and differences in the
dynamics of informality in a South African and Kenyan setting. The
article examines three dimensions of informality – the informal
economy, informal housing and informal politics – as they play into
the lives of youth, popular culture, moral debate, and local political
contestations. The two historical trajectories of settler colonial statebuilding
and urban influx control and segregation in South Africa
and Kenya are contrasted, together with the struggles that
accompanied decolonisation and the transitions to democracy. The
article discusses the ways in which informal entrepreneurship has
different weight and possibilities in the South African and the
Kenyan case, and shows the impact of different expectations of
state delivery in the two environments. In conclusion, the authors
try to assess comparatively whether developments in the two cases
of urban informal settlement in Durban and Nairobi are converging,
or whether they exhibit different patterns of urban integration.
LanguageEnglish
JournalAfrican Studies
Volume78
Issue number1
Pages51-73
Number of pages23
ISSN0002-0184
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019

Keywords

  • Durban
  • local politics
  • urban history
  • informality

Cite this

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title = "Amaoti and Pumwani: Studying urban informality in South Africa and Kenya",
abstract = "Based on the authors’ parallel projects of research and fieldwork inurban informal settlements in Durban and Nairobi, the article usescomparison to bring out similarities and differences in thedynamics of informality in a South African and Kenyan setting. Thearticle examines three dimensions of informality – the informaleconomy, informal housing and informal politics – as they play intothe lives of youth, popular culture, moral debate, and local politicalcontestations. The two historical trajectories of settler colonial statebuildingand urban influx control and segregation in South Africaand Kenya are contrasted, together with the struggles thataccompanied decolonisation and the transitions to democracy. Thearticle discusses the ways in which informal entrepreneurship hasdifferent weight and possibilities in the South African and theKenyan case, and shows the impact of different expectations ofstate delivery in the two environments. In conclusion, the authorstry to assess comparatively whether developments in the two casesof urban informal settlement in Durban and Nairobi are converging,or whether they exhibit different patterns of urban integration.",
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Amaoti and Pumwani : Studying urban informality in South Africa and Kenya. / Kaarsholm, Preben; Frederiksen, Bodil Folke.

In: African Studies, Vol. 78, No. 1, 03.2019, p. 51-73.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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AB - Based on the authors’ parallel projects of research and fieldwork inurban informal settlements in Durban and Nairobi, the article usescomparison to bring out similarities and differences in thedynamics of informality in a South African and Kenyan setting. Thearticle examines three dimensions of informality – the informaleconomy, informal housing and informal politics – as they play intothe lives of youth, popular culture, moral debate, and local politicalcontestations. The two historical trajectories of settler colonial statebuildingand urban influx control and segregation in South Africaand Kenya are contrasted, together with the struggles thataccompanied decolonisation and the transitions to democracy. Thearticle discusses the ways in which informal entrepreneurship hasdifferent weight and possibilities in the South African and theKenyan case, and shows the impact of different expectations ofstate delivery in the two environments. In conclusion, the authorstry to assess comparatively whether developments in the two casesof urban informal settlement in Durban and Nairobi are converging,or whether they exhibit different patterns of urban integration.

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