Blurring boundaries: Fragments of an urban research agenda

Conclusion

The boundary identified by Robinson between ‘urbanism’ and ‘developmental-ism’ will not be eliminated overnight. South African urban studies in all its hues are probably too set in its ways to make room for the kinds of imagining proposed in this paper. However, there are signs that scholars and artists in other fields will simply drag the ‘multiplex’ dynamics of everyday urbanism to the front door, forcing recalcitrants to take notice. For instance, the flood of fiction and cultural studies on the city by authors like Sello Duiker, Phaswane Mpe, Ashraf Jamal, Gabeba Baderoon, Dominique Malaquais, Ntone Edjabe, Sarah Nuttal, amongst many others, is rising surreptitiously behind the backs of scholars, biding time. The immediate challenge is to create spaces for cross-disciplinary dialogues and exchanges, which may eventually lead to trans-disciplinary practices to capture the elusive South African urbanism in all its starkness, impervious to desire or redemption.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Ahluwalia, P., 2001:Politics and Post-Colonial Theory: African Inflections, Routledge, London.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Alvesson, M. and Sköldberg, K., 2000:Reflexive Methodology: New Vistas for Qualitative Research, Sage, London.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Ashcroft, B., 2001:Post-Colonial Transformations, Routledge: London.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Bishop, R. and Clancey, G., 2003: City as target, or perpetuation and death, in Bishop, R., Phillips, J. and Yeo, W.W. (eds.),Postcolonial Urbanism: Southeast Asian Cities and Global Processes. Routledge, London, pp. 54–74.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Crawford, M., 1999: ‘Introduction’, in Chase, J., Crawford, M. and J. Kaliski (eds.),Everyday Urbanism, Monacelli Press: New York, pp. 1–25.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Freund, B., 2006: The state of South Africa’s cities, in Buhlungu, S., Daniel, J., Southall, R. and Lutchman, J. (eds.),State of the Nation: South Africa 2005–2006, HSRC Press, Pretoria.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Gandy, M., 2005: Cyborg urbanization: complexity and monstrosity in the contemporary city,International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 29(1): 26–49.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Gray, C.H., 2002:Cyborg Citizen: Politics in the Posthuman Age, Routledge, New York.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Gray, C.H. (ed.), 1995:The Cyborg Handbook, Routledge, London.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Harrison, P., 2001: The genealogy of South Africa’s Integrated Development Plan,Third World Planning Review, 23(2): 175–193.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Jamal, A., 2003: Terror and the city, A paper prepared for a symposium jointly conceived by the Isandla Institute and Open University’s Geography Department, 1–3 October, London.

  12. Parnell, S., 1997: South African cities: perspectives from the ivory tower of urban studies,Urban Studies, 34(5-6): 891–906.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Parnell, S. and Pieterse, E., 1999: Developmental local government: the second wave of post-apartheid urban reconstruction,Africanus, 29(2): 68–85.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Pieterse, E., 1997: Reflections on urban social movements in South Africa in a globalizing era,Urban Forum, 7(1): 1–17.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Pieterse, E., 2002: From divided to integrated city? Critical overview of the emerging governance system in Cape Town,Urban Forum, 13(1): 3–37.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Pieterse, E., 2003: Problematising and recasting vision-driven politics in Cape Town, in Haferburg, C. and Oβenbrügge, J. (eds.),Ambiguous Restructurings of Post-Apartheid Cape Town: The Spatial Form, LIT Verlag, Munster, Hamburg and London, pp. 157–188.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Pieterse, E., 2004: Recasting urban integration and fragmentation in post-apartheid South Africa,Development Update, 5(1), 81–104.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Pieterse, E., 2005: ‘Transgressing the limits of possibility: working notes on a relational model of urban politics’, in Simone, A. and Abouhani, A. (eds.)Urban Processes and Change in Africa, Zed Books, London, pp. 160–180.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Pieterse, E., 2006: Re-building among ruins: the pursuit of urban integration in South Africa (1994–2001), Unpublished PhD Thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science, London.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Pieterse, E. and Meintjies, F. (eds), 2004:Voices of the Transition: On the Politics, Poetics and Practices of Social Change in South Africa, Heinemann, Johannesburg.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Pieterse, E. and Simone, A.M. (eds.), 1994:Governance and Development: A Critical Analysis of CBOs in the Western Cape, Foundation for Contemporary Research, Cape Town.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Robinson, J., 2002: Global and world cities: a view from off the map,International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 26(3): 531–554.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Robinson, J., 2006:Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development, Routledge, London.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Seekings, J., 2000: Introduction: urban studies in South Africa after apartheid,International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 24(4): 832–840.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Simone, A., 2004:For the City Yet to Come: Changing African Life in Four Cities, Duke University Press, Durham and London.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Sylvester, C., 1999: Development studies and postcolonial studies: disparate tales of the ‘Third World’,Third World Quarterly, 20(4): 703–722.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Todes, A., 2006: Urban spatial policy, in Pillay, U., Tomlinson, R. and du Toit, J. (eds.),Democracy and Delivery: Urban Policy in South Africa, HRSC Press, Pretoria, pp. 50–74.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Turok, I., 2001: Persistent polarisation post-apartheid? Progress towards Urban Integration in Cape Town,Urban Studies, 38(13): 2349–2377.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  29. Young, R.J.C., 2003:Postcolonialism: A Very Short Introduction, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

This paper was originally read at: the South African Geography Conference, University of the Western Cape, 7–9 September 2005. I have kept the presentation format of the written version to avoid disturbing the narrative flow of the paper. I am indebted to Sue Parnell and Vanessa Watson for an ongoing conversation about urban research questions and possibilities which have found its way into the arguments that follow. I obviously remain solely responsible for what is written here.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pieterse, E. Blurring boundaries: Fragments of an urban research agenda. Urban Forum 17, 398–412 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02681239

Download citation

Keywords

  • Urban Forum
  • Urban Study
  • Urban Infrastructure
  • South African City
  • Social Entanglement