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.
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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.
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Pieterse, E. Blurring boundaries: Fragments of an urban research agenda. Urban Forum 17, 398–412 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02681239
- Urban Forum
- Urban Study
- Urban Infrastructure
- South African City
- Social Entanglement