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      Waiting for the state: a politics of housing in South Africa

      1 , 2
      Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space
      SAGE Publications

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          Abstract

          Although specified in the South African Bill of Rights, for the majority of South African citizens the right to access housing translates in practice to the experience of waiting. In this paper we reflect on the micropolitics of waiting, practices of quiet encroachment, exploring how and where citizens wait and make do, and their encounters with the state in these processes. We argue that waiting for homes shapes a politics of finding shelter in the meanwhile partially visible yet precarious, the grey spaces of informality and illegality that constitute South African cities. At the same time, waiting generates a politics of encounter between citizen and state, practices immersed in shifting policy approaches and techniques, the contingent and often-opaque practices of governance. In sum, the politics of waiting for housing in South Africa proves paradoxical: citizens are marked as legitimate wards of the state. Yet, to live in the meanwhile and in the long term requires subversion, an agency that is sometimes visible in mobilisation and protest, and at other times out of sight, simultaneously contentious and legitimate.

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          Most cited references46

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          Seeing from the South: Refocusing Urban Planning on the Globe’s Central Urban Issues

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            Red Tape

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              Life as Politics : How Ordinary People Change the Middle East

              Asef Bayat (2010)
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space
                Environ Plan A
                SAGE Publications
                0308-518X
                1472-3409
                May 2015
                May 01 2015
                May 2015
                : 47
                : 5
                : 1100-1112
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Environmental and Geographical Science, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa
                [2 ]African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, 7700, South Africa
                Article
                10.1177/0308518X15592309
                6a8de0c0-0bf2-4747-bbbd-ce567214ed8b
                © 2015

                http://journals.sagepub.com/page/policies/text-and-data-mining-license

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