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Unpacking State Practices in City-Making,in Conversations with Ananya Roy

Abstract : This is a robust introduction to a special section of the Journal of Development Studies interrogating, theorising and illustrating "informal practices of the state" in the governance of cities of the South - here southern african cities in particular. The collection of papers originates in a reading group organised around the visit of Ananya Roy in the School of Architecture and Planning, at Wits University, in May 2013. Focused around the politics of informality and city-making, participants reflected on the echoes of Roy’s work with their own research. All authors were interested in interrogating state power, its modalities and its effects in building Southern African cities. Papers in this collection have approached this shared interrogation in two different ways that can aptly be described as the governability of cities on the one hand, and the uses of governmentality in cities on the other. ‘Governability’ is a fuzzy but useful concept that refers both to the capacity of the state to steer society, and to the capacity or inclination of societies to comply or to resist being governed. Although the two are linked, we focus here on the first meaning (state’s ability to steer society), as we are attempting to direct an analytical gaze towards the state and its practices. ‘Governmentality’ on the other hand is a more classic, Foucauldian concept that we understand here as the ways in which governable subjects are produced through the internalisation of urban policies’ dominant visions and norms. This introduction to the special issue of the journal, developed in conversations with Ananya Roy and her work, frames the papers’ engagements with these two concepts, and contributes to emerging debates on informal practices of the state.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02779817
Contributor : Claire Bénit-Gbaffou <>
Submitted on : Thursday, June 4, 2020 - 5:16:31 PM
Last modification on : Friday, January 15, 2021 - 2:24:04 PM
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Claire Bénit-Gbaffou. Unpacking State Practices in City-Making,in Conversations with Ananya Roy. The Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis (Routledge), 2018, Governing cities: informal practices of the state, 54 (12), pp.2139-2148. ⟨10.1080/00220388.2018.1460469⟩. ⟨hal-02779817⟩

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