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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:New urban social movements in Cape Town and Johannesburg
Author:Dykes, KevinISNI
Periodical:Urban Forum
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:urban sociology
social change
informal settlements
urban renewal
Abstract:Bringing together political science literature, sociological studies, urban studies and urban planning literature, as well as South African academic work, the author argues that studying South Africa's cities will be enhanced through the application of structuralist theoretical concepts produced in relation to cities in Europe and North America. There are two collections of ideas explored in the structuralist literature: the emphasis placed by Marxist theorists upon the constraints created by political and economic institutions; and the emphasis placed upon the agency of citizens of Western-style democracies (A. Giddens, 1979). On the basis of an analysis of events in the 1990s at the Westlake informal settlement near Cape Town, and the struggles of low-income populations (particularly Somali immigrants) to retain the right to live in the centre of Johannesburg, the present author shows how economic, social and political structures in both Westlake and inner city Johannesburg were continually being altered by the actions of new urban social movements. There was a slower pace of change at Westlake, due to the particularities of the political and economic structures of the Western Cape region. However, Giddens' argument that structures only exist through human actions, and so structures move and alter when enough people decide to act differently, is shown to be accurate. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]