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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Youth politics: waiting and envy in a South African informal settlement
Author:Dawson, HannahISNI
Year:2014
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Volume:40
Issue:4
Pages:861-882
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:youth
social inequality
protest
townships
Link:https://doi.org/10.1080/03057070.2014.932981
Abstract:From the mid 2000s, militant local political protests have been widespread in poor townships and shack settlements across South Africa, recalling mobilisations of a previous decade. Youth have been at the forefront of these protests, as the weight of the job and housing crisis has fallen disproportionately on those under 35. Similarly to the 1980s, this has created fears over a youth-led rebellion, with youth portrayed as militant, angry, disillusioned and available for direct action. Significantly, very little research has captured the role of youth in these urban uprisings from the perspective of youth themselves. This paper provides insight into the lives of a number of youth who participated in the 2011 protests in Zandspruit informal settlement, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Situating the protests within a larger context allows an exploration of the complex web of structural factors which motivate youth involvement, and the ways in which youth actively shape and transform their social reality. This includes an understanding of the nature of youth unemployment, the politicisation of access to resources and services, and the relationship between leaders and youth. Through an analysis of the shared grievances and frustrated aspirations of youth within a context of perverse social inequality and intense competition for power and access to resources, the motivations of youth are analysed through two key concepts: waiting and envy. The paper draws attention to the changing nature of political action among youth and the implications for broader politics and society in South Africa. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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