Dis-­locating Public Space: Occupy Rondebosch Common, Cape Town

Abstract : We argue here that public space research might benefit theoretically from the Southern Turn in urban studies. Our first objective is theoretical and methodological: unpack the idea of public space to make it suitable beyond its original location. Détienne’s work on Comparing the Incomparable, combined with Staeheli and Mitchell’s notion of “regimes of publicity” offer the theoretical tools for such a displacement. We end up thinking about public space as various, context-specific configurations of loosely structured, juridical, political, and social elements that take on new shapes and are prone to partial dislocation when dis-located. We test this model by displacing it to a piece of vacant land ― Rondebosch Common in Cape Town. In so doing, we deal with our second objective: offering a detailed empirical analysis of the Occupy Rondebosch Common 2012 events, which relates to broader public space debates in contemporary, liminal, South Africa.
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Myriam Houssay-Holzschuch, Emma Thébault. Dis-­locating Public Space: Occupy Rondebosch Common, Cape Town. Environment and Planning A, SAGE Publications, 2017, 49 (3), pp.555-571. ⟨http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0308518X15603985⟩. ⟨10.1177/0308518X15603985⟩. ⟨hal-01198433⟩

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