P101
Local politics and national identities: South and southern Africa
Convenors:
Julian Brown (University of the Witwatersrand)
Noor Nieftagodien (University of the Witwatersrand)
Chair:
Julian Brown
Discussant:
Julian Brown
Location:
C4.01
Start time:
27 June, 2013 at 17:00
Session slots:
1

Short abstract:

In this panel, we seek to highlight the emergence of new forms of politics at a local level: in small towns, in suburbs and townships, and in rural communities, amongst others. These local efforts have contributed to defining the evolution of national and transnational politics in southern Africa.

Long abstract:

The development of southern African politics has been conceptualised in terms of the emergence of - and then contestation over - national polities. The emphasis on political contests at the national level has obscured the vital role of local organisations, party branches, and administration in the creation of these relatively new nations. In this panel, we seek to highlight the emergence of new forms of politics at a local level: in small towns, in suburbs and townships, and in rural communities, amongst others. These local efforts have contributed to defining the evolution of national and transnational politics in the region. In South Africa, branch politics shape national political agendas while localised urban protests (sometimes called "service delivery protests") present the most significant threat to the governing party's parliamenrary hegemony. In other southern African countries - including, but not limited to, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Angola and Mozambique - similar trends are discernable. This panel aims to place these contemporary political formations into an historical and comparative framework, bringing together papers on local structures of politics, local protests, and the relationship between these phenomena and the tentative development of new forms of national politics, organisation, and identity.