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CCS Seminar: Contested Rights and Spaces in the City: the Case of Refugee Reception Offices in South Africa

Speaker: Jay Johnson
Date: Tuesday 13 March 2018
Time: 13h00-14h00
Venue: CCS Seminar Room A726, Level 7, Shepstone, Howard College, UKZN

South African cities continue to experience high levels of mobility and diversity and contentious politics over rights in the city. For refugees and asylum seekers, such contention involves conflicts over the location and closures of Refugee Reception Office (RROs) sites of mandatory registration for refugees and asylum seekers to maintain legal status in the country across South African cities. However, while the control of movement and residence for refugees and asylum seekers is often attributed to a combination of national policies and international law, there has been less emphasis on the role of local state and civil society actors in influencing the implementation of these policies and legislation. Therefore, in this seminar, I explore the potential influence of urban politics, actors, and spaces on refugee and asylum seeker law and policy in South African cities, with a particular focus on the partial closure of the RRO in Cape Town. Based on preliminary archival and fieldwork research, I look at the potential influence and limits of urban actors in relation to state institutions on ambivalent outcomes of contesting or facilitating policy changes around urban RROs.

Speaker Bio:
Jay Johnson is a CCS visiting PhD Candidate in Sociology from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has previously received an MA in Forced Migration Studies from the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand; an MSc in Global Politics from the London School of Economics; and a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

 Other seminar programmes
 WISER Seminar Series 
 UKZN History Seminar Series 
 The Wolpe Trust 

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