Quiet conflict : social movements, institutional change, and upgrading informal settlements in South Africa
Author(s)Bradlow, Benjamin Hofman
Social movements, institutional change, and upgrading informal settlements in South Africa
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
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The South African government's attempts to provide land and housing for the poor have been focused primarily on interventions at the policy level and within internal state bureaucracies. But experiences of social movements for land and housing have shown that significant opportunities for formal institutional change occur through relationships of both contestation and collaboration between such movements and state institutions, especially at the local level. Such a relatively underexplored mechanism of institutional reform enables us to understand exactly how such change processes gain legitimacy and potency. This thesis draws on case studies of two recent, formalized partnerships between grassroots social movements and local authorities in the metropolitan municipality of Cape Town and the municipality of Stellenbosch. The studies examine exactly how such relationships create the space for both conflict and collaboration between communities and city government. They are based on semi-structured interviews with government officials, community, and movement leaders, and participant observations of engagements between the movements and city authorities in January and June-August 2012. The evidence suggests that theories of the state and institutional change require much greater attention to the multiple ways in which social movements interact with the state in order to realize rights of access to land and housing. The contingent endowments of these actors allow them to be more or less able to trigger institutional reform processes. When change has occurred, collaboration has been essential. But these cases also highlight the value of a credible threat of conflict based on city-wide mobilization, no matter how quietly such a threat lurks in the background. Policy interventions in the urban land and housing sector in South Africa, pitched as rational bureaucratic recipes, are unlikely to realize such rights without institutionalized engagements, especially at the city level, with organized social movements of the landless urban poor that articulate both conflictual and collaborative tendencies.
Thesis (M.C.P.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, 2013.This electronic version was submitted by the student author. The certified thesis is available in the Institute Archives and Special Collections.Cataloged from student-submitted PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 131-135).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.