P125


Everyday Citizenship: entanglements of state power, space and citizenship in contemporary Africa 
Convenors:
Arnold Chamunogwa (University of Oxford)
Rudo Mudiwa (Indiana University )
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Format:
Panels
Location:
BS004
Start time:
1 July, 2017 at 9:00 (UTC+0)
Session slots:
1

Short Abstract:

The panel focuses on 'citizens' in post-colonial Africa and their relationships with state power and space. The panel will also examine how citizens become intimately acquainted with radical state interventions that seek to reshape and reorder localities

Long Abstract

Everyday Citizenship: entanglements of state power, space and citizenship in contemporary Africa

The panel focuses on 'citizens' in post-colonial Africa and their relationships with state power and space. This theme builds upon contemporary approaches to the study of state power in Africa that focus upon the way that both the urban and the rural spaces are politicized and contested through everyday encounters at the 'margins' of the state and society. The panel seeks to examine the complex ways that citizens encounter and seek to challenge and transform state authority in its many guises and as they go through their daily routines. This takes into account social and political processes taking place at the margins of state and society and, asks how they are shaped by the everyday practices of individuals and their social and political institutions. The panel will also examine how citizens become intimately acquainted with radical state interventions that seek to reshape and reorder localities - bearing in mind that the local is situated within a network of spaces, places and scales. The papers to be presented should historicize the relationship between state, citizen, and particular spaces, demonstrating how colonial legacies continue to resurface and inform the interventions of the post-colonial state. The panel will be comprised of four presentations and a discussant who will provide a summarised critique of the papers as a way of setting up further discussions from the attendees.

Accepted papers:

Author:

Bettina Engels (Freie Universit├Ąt Berlin)

Paper short abstract:

It is analyzed how territory, place and scale intertwine when state-society relations are negotiated between state authorities and citizens in mining conflicts. The analysis refers to a case study on recent conflicts over large-scale in Burkina Faso, building on field research conducted in 2015-16.

Paper long abstract:

This paper investigates how citizenship is constructed, negotiated and contested in resource conflicts, namely in recent conflicts over the expansion of industrial mining in Burkina Faso. It does so by referring to concepts from spatial theory: territory, place and scale. Politics that regulate and facilitate large-scale mining represent state interventions that heavily impact on the spatial order and the 'built environment' (David Harvey) - first and foremost in the mining sites themselves, but do also concern the state territory in its entirety. Mining policies, in many cases, go hand in hand with territorialisation strategies applied by state actors. Local groups, in their protests against the expansion of industrial mines on 'their' territories, frequently refer to place-specific factors. Conflicts over mining are typically place-based: they occur at specific localities and are understood as struggles over culture, the locality itself, and territory. Places and territories are important points of reference for the construction of cultural identities such as ethnicity, autochthony, and nations. Industrial mining, as a sector, is characterized by centralized state power and control. However, in conflicts over mining, a multitude of actors is involved at different scales, often applying multi-scalar strategies when raising their claims.

In the paper, it is analyzed how territory, place and scale intertwine when state-society relations are negotiated between state authorities and citizens in mining conflicts.

The case study on recent conflicts over mining in Burkina Faso builds on field research conducted in 2015 and 2016, including more than 40 interviews, focus group discussion, and document analysis.

Author:

Rudo Mudiwa (Indiana University )

Paper short abstract:

Drawing from ethnographic work and analysis of media coverage, I examine how as the Zimbabwean economy experiences wild fluctuations, sex work becomes an index of just how precarious life in Zimbabwe has become.

Paper long abstract:

In my analysis of media coverage of sex work, which has become very popular and sensationalistic in Zimbabwe, I examine how as the economy experiences wild fluctuations, sex work becomes an index of just how precarious life in Zimbabwe has become. Moreover, sex work functions as an index of the breakdown of society in general, as divorces, extra-marital relationships (known as small houses) and various types of illicit sex become visible parts of the public culture. I draw from ethnographic research conducted in a "cruising bar," along with interviews with women who have been subject to police harassment or arrest, to examine how the increased surveillance of citizens shapes women's mobility in the present-day city. Consequently, this paper considers the politics of space quite explicitly, as I look the different ways that women's bodies are constructed as they move through various cityspaces. Moreover, this essay looks at how women talk about the policing of their bodies nearly four decades after independence by troubling the discourse of postcolonial transformation proffered by the government.

Author:

Brigitte Mutengwa (Aalborg University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper explores how state power, space and citizenship are entangled for street traders in Nairobi. When traders gain access to urban space by entering into exchange relations with municipal inspectorate officers, citizenship emerges as a particular type of debt relation with state authority.

Paper long abstract:

On the day that Njeri was arrested for hawking in the Nairobi Central Business District and assaulted by municipal inspectorate officers, I had expected her fellow street traders to express a little more solidarity with her. Instead, most would tell me that 'Njeri complains too much'. Based on conversations with street traders about the arrest of Njeri, this paper explores notions about what constitutes appropriate relations between street traders and municipal inspectorate officers in Nairobi, and how these relations are conditioned by control of and access to urban space. I argue that street traders are in a position of primordial debt towards inspectorate officers, since they need access to urban space in order to make a living, and that this indebtedness prompts not only material exchange in the form of bribe payments but also expectations about how to socially relate to officers. Conditioned both by exclusionary forms of urban planning and policing, which continue the colonial-era positing of street traders as 'dirt' that must be 'cleaned' off the city streets, and by everyday exchanges and understandings with street-level officers, citizenship emerges for street traders as a particular type of debt relation with state authority.

Author:

Arnold Chamunogwa (University of Oxford)

Paper short abstract:

The paper examines how the ruling party deployed an intimidatory and abrasive form of partisan authority that sought to govern resettled populations based on the distinction between "patriots" and "sell-outs."

Paper long abstract:

The paper contributes to debates on state transformation in Zimbabwean by providing a new view on the dramatic remaking of political order on commercial farmlands. This involved a rapid and violent shift from the "domestic government" of white farmers to a new system of partisan authority established by Zanu PF. The paper explains how the domestic government of white farmers was fractured and dismantled, and how Zanu PF constructed and established a new system of partisan authority that became the dominant mode of governing commercial farming areas from 2000 to 2002. The contours of citizenship in commercial farming areas were redrawn in the process, resulting in the classification of land occupiers, farm workers, and white farmers as "patriots," "sell-outs" and "political enemies", respectively. The paper examines governance under the Zanu PF system of partisan authority by looking at how its logics, registers and techniques of power were deployed to enforce and sanction desirable and undesirable citizenship based on the ideology of "patriotic nationalism." Occupiers had stronger positions to contest and renegotiate their subjection to the Zanu PF system of partisan authority, compared to farm workers and white farmers, as they could make claims to "patriotic citizenship" because they were part of the land struggles of 2000 to 2002. The paper demonstrates that the state went beyond redistributing land and sought to re-create an imagined community of "patriotic citizens" on the farms - with loyalty to Zanu PF being the defining, but not only, criteria for patriotism.

Author:

Loren Landau (University of the Witwatersrand)

Paper short abstract:

Human mobility introduces multiple subjectivities and trajectories into rapidly transforming urban space. This paper considers the emerging spatial forms of regulation and subjectivity generated within these sites.

Paper long abstract:

Varied forms of mobility are rapidly transforming communities across the world. In Africa's cities and urban peripheries, the results of human movements include ever more diverse sets of new arrivals living alongside longer-term residents as they seek protection, profit and passage elsewhere. Some move on, others return home while still others shift within in search of new opportunities or security. In the absence of muscular state institutions or dominant cultural norms, these areas have become estuarial zones in which varied communities of convenience are taking shape. Unlike well documented urban gateways or ghettos, these communities range from radical forms of exclusion to remarkable modes of accommodation which enable people to extract usufruct rights: to live in but not become fully part of the cities the occupy. Using examples from Maputo, Johannesburg, and Nairobi, this paper explores the nature of these estuaries in ways that challenge the conceptual foundations typically informing debates over migrant rights, integration, and the boundaries of belonging. This means eroding clear distinctions between hosts and guests along with a call to re-evaluate the relative importance of state institutions and policies. Most fundamentally, it questions new residents' interests in localised political and social recognition and participation. The article concludes by suggesting the need to reconsider the forms and scale of community through which the newly urbanised claim rights and the nature of the rights they desire.