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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Agency and action: perceptions of governance and service delivery among the urban poor in Cape Town
Author:Thompson, LisaISNI
Periodical:Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies (ISSN 1470-1014)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:urban population
public services
Abstract:Part of determining the democratic content of relationships between citizens and governance networks revolves around understanding how ordinary citizens are able to access governance networks, either directly, or indirectly though representatives. For citizenship to have any meaningful content for ordinary people, especially those who historically have been denied political and socio-economic rights, the promise of participatory democracy must lead to perceptions of ability to influence. Through the use of a survey instrument constructed to gauge perceptions of efficacy and responsiveness of local governance institutions, this article explores how citizens in three poor urban areas in Cape Town, South Africa (Khayelitsha, Langa and Delft) experience governance and service delivery in relation to their perceived ability to exercise either a direct or indirect form of agency in relation to decision-making. The article illustrates that in relation to the ordinary person in the street, perceptions of agency are weak, with corresponding levels of dissatisfaction in democracy. This is in contrast to much stronger perceptions of agency amongst community leaders in community organizations. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]