Socio-spatial Transformations

Socio-spatial Transformations

The movements of people create new social spaces while potentially transforming the institutional, economic, and physical infrastructure around them. Informed by comparative politics, human geography, and sociology this theme explores the constitution of social subjectivities and citizenship across a diverse of African sites which are origins, stations or destinations for people on the move.  Using quantitative, qualitative and visual methodologies to explore how human mobility is reshaping Africa’s socio-economic landscape across multiple dimensions: migratory trajectories and patterns of on-going mobility; linguistic, ethnic and religious heterogeneity; economic inequality, institutional and organizational affiliations, nationality, ethnicity, sex, household structure, and translocal connections and social networks.

This theme includes the work of the South African Research Chair in Mobility and the Politics of Difference. This area of work assembles a constellation of themes configured around questions of space, power, and the meanings of political community and identity within fluid, often translocal sites and ‘urban estuaries’. At an empirical level this includes multi-city, cross-national statistical surveys complemented by highly localized political ethnographies in Southern and Eastern Africa. Almost all of this work is collaborative, undertaken with local and international partners, colleagues, and graduate students. Reflecting a diversity of interests, the results speak to multiple audiences across the social sciences and public domain. The current locus of work is an effort to integrate multiple scales of analysis in ways that speak to fundamental empirical and ethical questions about mobility’s role in reshaping political community and citizenship in sub-Saharan Africa. See below for the most recent publications under this theme.


2017 publications

Landau, L.B. 2017. Capacity, complicity, and subversion: Revisiting collaborative refugee research in an era of containment. In Young, J., McGrath, S. (Eds.) Reflections on a decade of the refugee research network. Calgary: University of Calgary Press

Landau, L.B. 2017. Displacement and the pursuit of urban protection: Forced migration, fluidity, and global cities. In Bloch, A., Dona, G. (Eds.) Forced migration: Issues and debatesLondon: Routledge.

Landau, L.B. 2017. Friendship fears and communities of convenience in Africa’s urban estuaries: Connection as measure of urban condition. Urban Studies, 1-16.

Landau, L.B. 2017. Privilege and precarity: Public scripts and self-censorship shaping South African social science. Social Dynamic.

Landau, L.B., Bule, K., Malik, A.A., Kihato, C.W., Irvin-Erickson, Y., Edwards, B., Mohr, E. 2017. Displacement and disconnection? Exploring the role of social networks in the livelihoods of refugees in Gaziantep, Nairobi, and Peshawar. Washington DC: Urban Institute.

Misago, J.P. 2017. Politics by other means? The political economy of xenophobic violence in post-apartheid South Africa. The Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research, 47, 40-53.

Shaffer, M., Ferrato, G., Jinnah, Z. 2017. Routes, locations, and social imaginary: a comparative study of the on-going production of geographies in Somali forced migration. African Geographical Review, 1-13.

2016 publications

Berkhout, J., Ruedin, D., 2016. Why religion? Immigrant groups as objects of political claims on immigration and civic integration in Western Europe, 1995–2009. Acta Politica.

Kihato, C.W., Landau, L.B., 2016. Stealth Humanitarianism: Negotiating Politics, Precarity and Performance Management in Protecting the Urban Displaced. Journal of Refugee Studies few 031.

Landau, L.B., Freemantle, I., 2016. Beggaring belonging in Africa’s no-man’s lands: diversity, usufruct and the ethics of accommodation. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 42, 933–951.

Landau, L. B, Kihato, C., Misago, J.P., Obot, D. and Edwards, B. 2016. Becoming Urban Humanitarians: Engaging Local Government to Protect Displaced People. Urban Institute Research Report.

Mapitsa, C., 2016. Local Politics of Xenophobia. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 1-17.

Palmary, I., 2015. Reflections on social cohesion in contemporary South Africa. Psychology in Society 62–69.

Wilhelm-Solomon, M., 2016a. Decoding dispossession: Eviction and urban regeneration in Johannesburg’s dark buildings. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 37, 378–395.

Zschirnt, E., Ruedin, D., 2016. Ethnic discrimination in hiring decisions: a meta-analysis of correspondence tests 1990–2015. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 42, 1115–1134.

2015 publications

Fourchard, L., Segatti, A., 2015. Introduction of xenophobia and citizenship: the everyday politics of exclusion and inclusion in Africa. Africa: The Journal of the International African Institute 85, 2–12.

Jahn, I.R., Wilhelm-Solomon, M., 2015. ‘Bones in the wrong soil’: reburial, belonging, and disinterred cosmologies in post-conflict northern Uganda. Critical African Studies 7, 182–201.

Jinnah, Z., 2015. Rational Routes? Understanding Somali Migration to South Africa. Mobility and Migration Choices: Thresholds to Crossing Borders 43.

Jinnah, Z., Lowe, L., 2015. Circumcising circumcision: renegotiating beliefs and practices among Somali women in Johannesburg and Nairobi. Medical anthropology 34, 371–388.

Landau, L.B., 2015. Becoming ‘cosmo’: Displacement, development and disguise in Ongata Rongai. Africa 85, 59–77.

Monson, T., 2015. Everyday politics and collective mobilization against foreigners in a South African shack settlement. Africa 85, 131–153.

Ripero-Muñiz, N., Fayad, S., 2016. Metropolitan nomads: a journey through Jo’burg’s “Little Mogadishu.” Anthropology Southern Africa 39, 232–240.

Segatti, A., 2015. ‘Mobutu’s ghost’: Mobilizing against foreign retailers in contemporary Congo. Africa 85, 13–36.

Wilhelm-Solomon, M., 2015. Dispossessed vigils: morning and regeneration in inner-city Johannesburg. The African Cities Reader 3.

2014 publications

Dzingirai, V., Mutopo, P., Landau, L.B., 2014. Confirmations, Coffins and Corn: Kinship, Social Networks and Remittances from South Africa to Zimbabwe. WP18. Migrating out of Poverty RPC. Sussex: Sussex University.

Landau, L.B., 2014. Conviviality, Rights, and Conflict in Africa’s Urban Estuaries. Politics & Society 42, 359–380.

Landau, L.B., 2014. Religion and the foundation of urban difference: belief, transcendence and transgression in South Africa and Johannesburg. Global Networks 14, 291–305.