Partisan citizenship and its discontents: precarious possession and political agency on Harare City’s expanding margins

McGregor, JoAnn and Chatiza, Kudzai (2019) Partisan citizenship and its discontents: precarious possession and political agency on Harare City’s expanding margins. Citizenship Studies. pp. 1-23. ISSN 1362-1025

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Abstract

On the margins of Zimbabwe’s expanding capital Harare, the ruling ZANU-PF party promotes a view of access to urban land, housing and security as ‘gift’, conditional on demonstrations of party loyalty. This article discusses contestation over this form of partisan citizenship, making the following broader arguments. First it argues that the notion of partisan citizenship draws attention to the role of party political affiliation as a source of differential entitlements in illiberal democracies, countering a tendency to emphasise ethno-regional, racialized or religious communal identities as the primary sources of graduated citizenship in Africa. Second, it casts clientalist subjection as a contextual and contentious domain of ideas and action, rather than presenting it as cultural persistence or reducing it solely to material bargaining. Third, the article uses the Zimbabwean case to caution against a tendency within debates over southern urbanism to celebrate land occupations and informal construction as political resistance and route to full citizenship. In these ways, the article offers partisan citizenship as a means of taking forward debates over re-configurations of citizenship in Africa’s illiberal democracies and the politics of precarious peripheries in the urbanising global South more broadly.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Depositing User: Sharon Krummel
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2019 08:21
Last Modified: 05 Dec 2019 08:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/88590

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
UnsetUnsetESRCES/N004140/1
The Unknown City: the (in)visibility of urban displacementG2003ESRC-ECONOMIC & SOCIAL RESEARCH COUNCILES/P005128/1
Migrants on the Margins (Zimbabwe - Harare)G2085ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETYUnset