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Publication Details

Mottiar, Shauna  (2014) Protest and participation in Durban: A focus on Cato Manor, Merebank and Wentworth. Forthcoming Politikon 41(3) 2014 : 1-14.

This paper considers how Durban citizens understand protest and what other methods of participation they employ in their pursuit of service delivery, democratic citizenship and social change. It is based on a sample of twenty households drawn from Cato Manor a ‘hotspot’ for ‘service delivery’ protest as well as Merebank and Wentworth situated in the South Durban basin well known for its civil society / community opposition to local petrochemical refineries. The paper employs theories of ‘invited’ and ‘invented’ spaces of participation and ‘participation as citizenship’ to understand protest and participation among Durban’s low income, urban citizens. It argues that protest and formal participation methods are used in parallel but with differing levels of intensity across communities depending on how people view agency and democratic citizenship.

The paper also considers the role of social movements and NGOs arguing that their initiatives to effect ‘transformative’ participation have their limits.

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