Vol. 35 Issue 1/2 - 2012
New insights on trust, honour and networking in informal entrepreneurship: Zimbabwean malayishas as informal remittance couriers
Abstract The paper focuses on the utility of the concepts of trust and honour in understanding relations among Zimbabwean remittance couriers who are popularly known as “malayishas”. Trust and honour are explored in relation to how they produce and sustain a culture of networking and cooperation on the one hand and competition and conflict on the other. The paper's arguments are largely informed by Bourdieu's ideas on social action, particularly his emphasis on the dynamism of social action and how in practice it is manifested through various forms of capital. The study reveals a dynamic picture when it comes to malayisha-malayisha relations on the one hand and malayisha-remitter relations on the other. In the various spheres of interaction among actors, relations are inherently informed by social, cultural and economic capital. In this case, elements of trust and honour are evident in processes surrounding the creation and strengthening of networks and ties manifest in the remittance transportation trail.
Subjects: ‘Malayisha’, remittances, informality, social capital, honour, trust, networks
Decency and exclusion: a symbolic interpretation of post-displacement discriminatory discourse in De Doorns, South Africa
Nicola M. Hugo
Abstract From 14–17 November 2009 an estimated 3000 Zimbabweans were violently and forcefully displaced from their dwellings in a rural farming area, De Doorns, in the Western Cape, South Africa. This study looks into a discourse of decency to contribute, through symbolic interpretation, to an understanding of discriminatory motives behind the aggressive expulsion of Zimbabweans from Stofland, a shack settlement in De Doorns. An analysis of one of the prominent discourses used by residents after displacement reveals the logic behind discrimination and also illustrates the ways in which discrimination manifests and is perpetuated through language and action. This discourse of decency is also discussed in relation to findings that suggest that, far from being the result of a common identity, displacement motives are based on perceived difference and constructed entitlement identities. Constructed entitlement identities need to be understood in relation to desires for material emancipation in Post-Apartheid South Africa.
Subjects: Decency, discriminatory discourse, displacement, exclusion, group identity, symbolic interactionism, xenophobia
Street name-changes, abjection and private toponymy in Potchefstroom, South Africa
Andre Goodrich & Pia Bombardella
Abstract In 2008, many residents of what was then Van Riebeeck Street in the small city of Potchefstroom in South Africa defied the city council's renaming it Peter Mokaba Avenue by erecting replica Van Riebeeck Street signs on their private property. Our interviews with these residents revealed a theme of moral, discursive and spatial straying and lostness. To explain this lostness we first show that Van Riebeeck and Mokaba are the master signifier and abject other of modern South Africa's symbolic order. Second, we demonstrate how this symbolic order is inexorably linked to the racialised relations of production embodied in planned urban spaces such as Potchefstroom. Preserving the spatio-symbolic coincidence forged in the 1952 Van Riebeeck festival that tied Van Riebeeck, the bringer of modernity, to the Foreshore Plan, its first spatial manifestation, is what motivates this privatisation of toponymy. To move Mokaba from abject other to signifier of a new mythology that fails to coincide with the unaltered spatial embodiment of racialised relations of production is to stray too close to the uncomfortable message of Peter Mokaba-namely that the revolution has yet to happen.
Subjects: Toponymy, rites of passage, myth, abject, planning, modernity, Peter Mokaba, Jan van Riebeeck
Revisiting ‘township tourism’: multiple mobilities and the re-territorialisation of township spaces in Cape Town, South Africa
Jessica L. Dickson
Abstract This article explores themes of social space and mobility significant to tourism within the townships near Cape Town, South Africa. Research on the emergence of ‘township tourism’ has produced contrasting interpretations. Some authors describe essentialised notions of ‘Africanness’, ‘culture’, and poverty displayed for the consumption of European tourists as voyeurism. Others emphasize township tourism's grassroots potential for local development, and portray it as a form of reconciliation through the political and personal narratives shared between resident-guides and tourists. By focusing primarily on one family of township tourism ‘hosts,’ the findings presented here describe how those involved with township tourism utilized new avenues of social and physical mobility across socio-spatial boundaries that persist as legacies of apartheid. Flexible understandings of space and ‘multiple mobilities’ are considered here, and host agency is emphasized. Finally, by tracing public discourses of criminality and ‘common sense’ directed at international visitors to townships in 2010, this paper demonstrates how such narratives undermined efforts to reconfigure perceptions of township spaces. I conclude by arguing that township tourism carries the potential to map new cartographies of belonging, while also creating new exclusions.
Subjects: Tourism, township, space, mobility, violence, crime, Cape Town, South Africa
Protocol and beyond: practices of care during a Tuberculosis vaccine clinical trial in South Africa
Abstract Much of the current social science literature on the clinical trials industry focuses on the profit-seeking practices adopted by pharmaceutical companies and the contract research organisations they employ to enable the mass production and distribution of their products. However, what the current literature demands is further ethnographic engagement with the particularities of the diseases being investigated, the local contexts and histories in which they are entwined, and how these impact the affective relationships between clinical research organisations and their participants. On the basis of ethnographic research with a nonprofit clinical research organisation specialising in TB vaccinations in South Africa, I argue that the complexities of TB mean that research into it necessitates frequent and often intimate interactions with research participants. These were perceived by researchers to yield opportunities to take an interest in the physical and psychosocial wellbeing of research participants which went beyond and sometimes ran into conflict with the requirements of protocol. The aim of this paper is to advocate more finely tuned attention to the challenges posed by the clinical trials industry today, an attention sensitive to the particularities of the contexts of clinical trials.
Subjects: Clinical trials, tuberculosis, care, experiment, protocol, ethics, South Africa