Laurence Piper

Laurence Piper
Högskolan Väst · School of Business, Economics and IT

PhD
Reflecting on work-integrated learning and political studies.

About

102
Publications
78,675
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Introduction
Laurence Piper is a Political Scientist at University West, Sweden and the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, interested in urban governance, democracy, and informality in South Africa and comparatively. His latest book is 'Democracy Disconnected: Participation and Governance in a City of the South', Routledge, 2019, with Professor Fiona Anciano. He is the previous President of the South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS) 2016-8.
Additional affiliations
January 2018 - December 2019
Högskolan Väst
Position
  • Professor
Description
  • Visiting Professor on the IPPE (International Programme for Politics and Economics).
January 2009 - present
University of the Western Cape
Position
  • Professor (Full)
July 1999 - December 1999
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Position
  • Professor

Publications

Publications (102)
Article
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Violence against Somali shopkeepers is often cited as evidence of xenophobic attitudes and violence in South Africa. However, as argued in this article, it is not necessarily the case that such violence is driven by anti-foreigner sentiment. Instead, as illustrated in the case of Delft, a poor, mixed-race area in the City of Cape Town, violence aga...
Book
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Contents List of Figures, Tables and Maps ix Foreword x Acknowledgements xiii Notes on Contributors xiv List of Acronyms xviii Introduction: The Crucial Role of Mediators in Relations between States and Citizens 1 Laurence Piper and Bettina von Lieres
Book
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Why is dissatisfaction with local democracy endemic, despite the spread of new participatory institutions? This book argues that a key reason is the limited power of elected local officials, especially to produce the City. City Hall lacks control over key aspects of city decision-making, especially under conditions of economic globalisation and rap...
Article
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This article examines the rise of ‘defiant citizenship’ in Hangberg, a historic fishing village set on the lower slopes of the Sentinel Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. Defiant citizenship affirms membership of the state, but on terms that assert the primacy of residents’ right of belonging in, and sovereignty over, the place of Hangberg, even...
Chapter
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This chapter will advance the argument that Work Integrated Learning (WIL) can reinforce active citizenship as illustrated with an example from the South African context. WIL is an approach that holds that students will learn better in a program that integrates theoretical knowledge in the classroom with practical knowledge in the workplace. While...
Article
The paper articulates a model of urban governance, developed through emergent analysis of the rulers, methods, rules and logics evident in the practices of security governance in Hout Bay, Cape Town. Informed by the concept of hybrid governance, this grounded theorising draws on extensive fieldwork on security governance practices in a complex urba...
Article
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In this paper, I argue that we need a place-based account of social cohesion that is useful to progressive social movements because it affirms solidarity and attachment based on collective action that (i) resists xenophobia, (ii) demands various rights to the city, but also attempts to (iii) auto-construct local communities. In their excellent revi...
Research
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Executive summary The aim of this research is to understand the effect of SASSA pay point decommissioning on social grant recipients, especially the elderly. The research took place in two rural sites, Genadendal and Robertson, and two urban sites, Delft and Khayelitsha, in the Western Cape Decommissioning involved a move from a grant payment sys...
Preprint
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https://criticalsouth.blog/
Article
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Power in Action is an important intervention into debates on politics and democracy at a critical time in the history of democratic rule globally. It is a thought-provoking, contentious and powerful case for re-thinking some traditional assumptions about how power works, and what democracy should be. Ultimately, the great strength of Power in Actio...
Conference Paper
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The paper outlines the limits of city and state authority over the city of the urban south. It identifies the emergence of both formal partnership with non-state actors in ruling the city (co-governance, hybrid governance etc), and the informal contestation of city rule by non-state actors. In addition to the proliferation of public authorities, th...
Conference Paper
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The paper explores the peculiar politics of popular resistance to the upgrading of an informal settlement in Imizamo Yethu, Cape Town, following a major fire in 2017. The paper traces the politics around the response to the fire by the city and contending groups of poor residents, many of whom, paradoxically, continue to resist the upgrading of the...
Chapter
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This chapter examines the impact of regulations and law enforcement on the economic activities of informal traders and micro-entrepreneurs in marginalised communities on the urban periphery. Our case site is Browns Farm, Philippi, a township in the City of Cape Town, South Africa, where a micro-enterprise census and business operator survey was con...
Presentation
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Respondent to paper by Dr Prathama Banerjee 'Sovereignty and Ascendancy: south Asian reflections', South African Contemporary History and Humanities Seminar, Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape, 23 October 2018.
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Article
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In recent years, political forces from the Occupy movement in North America to the #FeesMustFall student protest in South Africa have attempted to disrupt the political order in the name of democratic equality. Inspired by radical theorists like Rancière, this politics promises a model of social change through the combination of the disruption of i...
Chapter
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‘Tenderpreneur’ is a South African colloquialism for a businessperson who uses political contacts to secure government procurement contracts (called ‘tenders’) often as part of reciprocal exchange of favours or benefits. The term is a portmanteau of ‘tender’ (to provide business services) and ‘entrepreneur’. Today, ‘tenderpreneurs’ are associated w...
Article
Full-text available
In recent years, political forces from the Occupy movement in North America to the #FeesMustFall student protest in South Africa have attempted to disrupt the political order in the name of democratic equality. Inspired by radical theorists like Rancière, this politics promises a model of social change through the combination of the disruption of i...
Chapter
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This chapter makes the case that access to the spaces of public debate in post-apartheid South Africa is about the challenge of political representation as much as it is about the challenge of access to communication technologies. These representational issues centre on the racialised and partisan nature of state-society relations framed, in part,...
Article
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Hamilton is a republican, albeit a deeply uncommon one, who holds that the fundamental and complex interconnectedness of modern society means that freedom requires the exercise of power in individual and group and national domains. This demanding conception of freedom is rooted in a Marxian conception of freedom as the capacity to bring about a cho...
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Review Christoph Haferburg & Marie Huchzermeyer (eds) 2015. Urban Governance in Post-apartheid Cities: Modes of Engagement in South Africa’s Metropoles. UKZN Press, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 2015 (first published by Gebr. Borntrager Verlagsbuchhandlung, Stuttgart, Germany, 2014). This collection is an important addition to a new but burgeoni...
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Conference Paper
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Demographic shifts across the global south clearly indicate that the future is urban, and by implication, urban politics will be central to human well-being. Following the debates about elite rule versus pluralism in US Political Science in the 1960s, the study of urban politics has been dominated urban regime theory (Stone 1989), and more recently...
Article
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An important component of the informal economy in South Africa, the Spaza sector is portrayed as dominated by foreign nationals who outcompete South African shopkeepers on price. Indeed, this business competition from foreign nationals is a key reason given to explain xenophobia in South Africa. This article sets out to interrogate this widely held...
Article
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In general, South Africans view the formal participatory institutions of their state as ineffective mechanisms for the realization of their demands. Conversely, the reach of formalized civil society is limited in terms of policy impact, and social movements have little presence on the ground outside of the larger townships of the major metropolitan...
Article
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Through examining violence in the township of Imizamo Yethu in Cape Town, we show that leadership in this community is not based on violence, despite its pervasiveness in the settlement. Further, rule by local leaders and the state is often weak, and normally not violently enforced. This account challenges three common views in the literature. The...
Article
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The last decade has seen growing awareness of violent attacks against foreigners in South Africa. This includes attacks against foreign traders in the townships where they are portrayed as ‘taking over’ by out-competing South African traders on price. Central to township trade are neighbourhood grocery or convenience stores colloquially known â...
Article
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This article argues that we should take more seriously the role of intermediaries in relationships between states and citizens in the global south. More specifically it holds that the practice of mediation, the third party representation of citizens to states and vice versa, is a widespread and important political practice in this context. Largely...
Research
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This chapter surveys the state of public participation and local governance in southern Africa, more specifically in the countries of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. This is no easy task, and not simply because of the number of countries, but also because of their substantial diversity...
Research
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http://www.iss.nl/fileadmin/ASSETS/iss/Research_and_projects/Research_networks/BICAS/BICAS_WP_3-Piper.pdf This working paper surveys various debates around the emergence of the BRICS as economic and political players on the global stage in the last 15 years. In economic terms the paper traverses accounts of the future dominance of the BRICS of the...
Thesis
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This thesis investigates the relationship between ethnicity, nationalism and political history. By close empirical research on the recent political transition in South Africa, it provides original and convincing argument for the radically contingent connections between these three phenomena. More specifically, it is a study in the comparative failu...
Article
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In this article, we describe a research approach to undertaking a small area census to identify informal economy activity, using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative tools. The method focuses on enterprise activity. The approach enables the researcher to record a broader spectrum of informal micro-enterprises through identifying businesses in...
Article
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Common to most accounts of South African electoral politics is some version of voter loyalty or party identification. In contrast to arguments that focus on voter behaviour, although less common, are views that point to the reinforcement of voter choice through the relationship of the African National Congress (ANC) and party-state to key civil soc...
Article
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Hamilton's argument for a political philosophy of needs moves from a critique of rights, more specifically the 'rights-preferences couple', as inappropriate foundation for liberal political theory and practice. While acknowledging some role for rights in a needs-based polity, Hamilton says nothing about what this role might be, and follows Geuss in...
Chapter
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Election 2014 has destroyed the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) as a major political party in South Africa, and relegated it to third place behind the ANC and DA in its provincial stronghold of KwaZulu-Natal. The IFP has steadily lost electoral support since its zenith in 1994, when it came third nationally with 10.5% and won KwaZulu-Natal with 50.3%....
Article
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At the same time as democracy has 'triumphed' in most of the world, it leaves many unsatisfied at the disjuncture between the democratic ideal and its practical expression. Participatory practices and institutions, as exemplified in the participatory budgeting process of the local government of Porto Alegre in Brazil, claim to embody a more substan...
Article
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Susan Booysen. 2011. The African National Congress and the Regeneration of Political Power. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.Anthony Butler. 2012. The Idea of the ANC. Athens: Ohio University Press.Stephen Ellis. 2012. External Mission: The ANC in Exile. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball.Arianna Lissoni, Jon Soske, Natasha Erlank, Noor Nieftagodien an...
Chapter
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This book sets out to answer a deceptively simple question: how do citizens and state engage in the global south? The answer is not simple; it is indeed complex and multifaceted, but we argue that much of the time this engagement involves a practice of intermediation. From local to international level, citizens are almost always represented to the...
Chapter
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The formal system of local governance in South Africa has the ‘ward’ as its lowest and smallest electoral level — a spatial unit consisting of between 5,000 and 15,000 voters. The ward is equivalent to the ‘constituency’ in much of the rest of the world. Notably, the history of South Africa means that the vast majority of people live in ‘communitie...
Article
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After a decade of unsuccessful efforts to migrate informal businesses to South Africa's formal economy there remains little understanding of the dynamics in this sector, especially as regards micro-enterprises. International literature discusses ‘exit’ and ‘exclusion’, holding that poor law enforcement is the reason for the persistence and growth o...
Data
Development Southern Africa (2013): Enforced informalisation: The case of liquor retailers in South Africa, makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the "Content") contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to th...
Article
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On the basis of a 2008 survey conducted in the Msunduzi municipality in the KwaZulu-Natal province, the paper begins an exploration of the character of popular politics and citizenship in South Africa. Embracing a ‘citizen-centred’ methodology informed by participation literatures, and sensibilities to the ‘work in progress’ character of African ci...
Article
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Small, home-based grocery stores, known as spaza shops, are ubiquitous throughout the township areas of urban South Africa, constituting an important business in the informal economy. In recent years, this retail market has become a site of fierce competition between South African shopkeepers and foreign entrepreneurs, especially Somalis, and is of...
Chapter
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This chapter argues that local government elections offer a unique opportunity in South Africa's political system for voters to practice forms of democracy that are more local, plural and accountable in character than at provincial or national level. A key reason for this is the mixed electoral system where half of all councillors are directly elec...
Article
The paper argues that the practice of democratic mediation is an increasingly common, yet under-researched, component of engagements between citizens and public authorities across the globe. While the actors who mediate (and their tactics) are diverse and are not necessarily of the marginalised group, they share a commitment to overcoming represent...
Article
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Protest politics in South Africa has a long history and has been deployed differentially in different historical moments. Whereas protests formed an important vehicle during the fight against apartheid, their rebirth and propulsion to the centre of the struggles in the post-apartheid dispensation have come as a surprise to many. The majority of the...
Article
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In recent times South African politics has come to exhibit features typical of many post-colonial contexts, not least the rise of acrimonious and confrontational politics based around personalities and forms of populism. In such contexts rational dialogue and democratic deliberation become increasingly difficult to get going and to sustain. Drawing...
Article
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Will participatory local government structures help deepen democracy in South Africa? That is the proclaimed purpose of the ward committee system, the centre-piece of post-apartheid local government reform, intended to facilitate deliberative democratic decision making. Drawing on a case study of the Msunduzi municipality, it is argued here that wa...
Article
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In party organisational terms, the rise of Jacob Zuma to the Presidency of the African National Congress (ANC) is a victory for the alliance partners and the struggle‐era vision of the ANC as a popular front, or the ‘ANC as alliance’, as against Mbeki’s centralised and exclusionary practice. Accidentally, this renaissance of the ANC as alliance is...
Article
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AS A POPULAR political movement, Zulu nationalism is dead. Contrary to the pretensions of certain political elites and contrary to the mythology that continues to envelop their name, ordinary Zulu people are almost indistinguishable from other black South Africans in their political behaviour and beliefs. Most amaZulu support the African National C...
Article
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The issue of public participation is receiving increasing attention in South Africa, from both government and civil society sectors. We are witnessing acknowledgement from a wide range of public institutions that insufficient consideration has been paid to public participation, and that existing policy frameworks, institutional mechanisms and progr...
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Party politics, elite accountability and public participation : ward committee politics in the Msunduzi municipality This article explores the innovation of ward committees in the municipal governance of South Africa in relation to party politics, more specifically the alleged ‘dominant party syndrome’ associated with the ruling African National Co...
Article
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The paper explores whether ward committees are in fact the non-partisan structures for community participation in local government stipulated by legislation and official policy. Findings from the municipality of Msunduzi suggest that, where they actually function, ward committees are dominated by local political leaders. In most IFP wards and some...
Article
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This article examines the operation of new forms of public participation in local government in South Africa initiated 'from above' by the state. We try to assess whether formal public participation has made local governance more democratic and/or enhanced the delivery of social services. The answer suggested by our case-studies is 'no', or at leas...
Article
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This paper explores the implications of the disjuncture between the real-world practice of governance and the popular understanding of politics. There are two ways of addressing this disjuncture. The first is to accept the popular conception of politics and declare its relative decline, alongside the state, in the face of supra-national governance....
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As part of a vigorous debate about the politics of multiculturalism, Will Kymlicka has sought to find grounds within liberal political theory to defend rights for cultural groups. Kymlicka argues that the individual's ability to choose the good life necessarily takes place in a cultural context such that access to one's ethnic or national culture c...
Article
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This article explores racial desegregation in a government managed village for low-income families in Pietermaritzburg. At first glance Oribi village seems to offer an alternative model of racial desegregation based on state management rather than individual choice in the market-place. Oribi has undergone significant change in racial demography sin...
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Review of the second edition of Power: a Radical View ('Second Edition), by Steven Lukes. London: Palgrave, 2005. ISBN: 0-333-42092-6.In addition to adding context, PRV2 substantially refines the core argument of PRV. In this respect Lukes makes three key moves. First he acknowledges that PRV, and for that matter PRV2, are about power over others...
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The abstract for this document is available on CSA Illumina.To view the Abstract, click the Abstract button above the document title.
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From the perspective of the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), the 2004 election was remarkable in two ways. First, the IFP fared worse than ever. Formed by Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi in 1975, the party is rooted in rural Zulu people of the KwaZulu-Natal province. During the apartheid era, the IFP virtually was the KwaZulu government. After 1994, it was...
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In the context of higher education transformation in South Africa, this paper attempts to capture a series of observations about transformation at the former University of Natal. From a descriptive, multidisciplinary perspective it critiques racial transformation at the University as driven by concerns of representivity over the need for desegregat...
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During South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy the most virulent opposition to change came from Zulu nationalism. Post-apartheid, however, Zulu nationalism has largely waned. This is because Zulu nationalism was instrumentally invoked and jettisoned by the Inkatha Freedom Party. Beginning in 1975, Inkatha embraced a ‘third way’ resist...
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