||Sebastiana Etzo is a researcher at the Universita’ degli Studi di Napoli L’Orientale (IUO), in Italy, where she is conducting a research on “Governance reforms, social exclusion and the struggle against poverty in Southern Africa: the cases of Angola and South Africa”. This is part of a broader national project involving three more universities as part of the PRIN (Funding for research projects of national interest), sponsored by the Italian Ministry of Research and Education. In the same university she completed her PhD in 2004 on “Local Government Restructuring and the Emergence of Urban Social Movements in Post-Apartheid South Africa. The Case of Johannesburg”. She has then worked as a teacher and trainer for a EU funded project based in Sardinia, targeting adult women from disadvantaged background and aimed at facilitating their access to the labour market. She has also collaborated with a small international NGO (OSVIC), by contributing to the training of a group of volunteers, before moving to London where she is working part-time for a charity organisation, the Royal African Society, as web content manager/editor. She is on the editorial board of the Italian-based journal Afriche&Orienti.
The focus of her present research is on two South African municipalities, Johannesburg and Durban. Municipal policies are analysed within the broader framework of local economic development and policies more specifically aimed at targeting poverty. She will focus mainly on electricity and housing policies and the way they are implemented and are impacting on the poorest communities. Crucial in this analysis are resistance movements that in the past years mobilised fiercely. She is interested in studying how movements respond to the failure and the lack of accountability of their local authorities, to what extent and through which means and strategies they succeed in shaping municipal policies, enter the political debate, challenge existing power relations and structures and become a space where a substantive citizenship is exercised.
Royal African Society: