Claiming ‘Rights’ in the African City

Popular mobilization and the politics of informality

Authored by: Claire Bénit-Gbaffou , Sophie Oldfield

The Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South

Print publication date:  March  2014
Online publication date:  March  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415818650
eBook ISBN: 9780203387832
Adobe ISBN: 9781136678202


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The groundswell of mass popular activism in contemporary cities — in particular in the global South — has (re)inspired an academic literature on ‘the right to the city’ (Purcell 2002; Brenner et al. 2012; Harvey 2012; Schmid 2012; Samara et al. 2013), and has crystallized the emergence of global social movements claiming a ‘right to the city’ (Purcell 2003; Portaliou 2007: Mayer 2009), more or less rooted in localized political initiatives (see Fernandes 2007 for the Brazilian case for instance). Developed in articulation with dynamics of urban neoliberalization (Harvey 2008; Brenner et al. 2012), academics and activists do not necessarily directly or even implicitly refer to Lefebvre's initial concept of the ‘right to the city’ (Mayer 2009); although both call for ‘some kind of [radical and fundamental] shaping power over the processes of urbanization, over the ways in which our cities are made and remade’ (Harvey 2012: 5).

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