The Governance of Multiple Elsewheres: Evaluating Municipalities’ Response to Mobility

A journal article by Dr Caitlin Blaser and Prof Loren Landau

Migrants personify multilocality. As people move in search of profit, protection or passage elsewhere, they create networks of material and social exchange in ways that recalibrate demands on administrative institutions built to serve and manage geographically stable people and communities. Even when human mobility does little to numerically bolster communities, it remains an important dynamic with people frequently shifting within and between cities or between towns and more rural ‘homes’. Nowhere are these challenges more acute than in Southern Africa. Here repeated movements remain central to the region’s livelihoods while newly empowered local governments struggle to address enduring poverty, inequality and social fragmentation. Based on research in South Africa and Botswana, this article outlines a series of loose for evaluating local authorities’ capacity to respond to mobility and multi-locality. These include perceptions and attitudes among officials; data collection and management systems; patterns of political representation, along with inter-governmental relations and budgeting. By assessing municipalities along these lines, officials and advocates can identify where municipalities fall short and seek to improve performance in an era of ongoing mobility and multilocality.

Blaser, C. and Landau. L., 2013. The Governance of Multiple Elsewheres: Evaluating Municipalities’ Response to Mobility. Trialog 116/117, 33-37.