Sociology Professor Tony Roshan Samara has a new book, Cape Town After Apartheid: Crime and Governance in the Divided City. Cape Town after Apartheid is a critical case for understanding a transnational view of urban governance, especially in highly unequal, majority-poor cities. Samara’s closely observed study of postapartheid Cape Town affords valuable insight into how security and governance technologies from the global North combine with local forms to create new approaches to social control in cities across the global South. The book focuses on urban renewal and urban security policies and practices in the city center and townships as this aspiring world-class city actively pursues a neoliberal approach to development. The city’s attempt to escape its past is, however, constrained by crippling inequalities, racial and ethnic tensions, political turmoil, and persistent insecurity. Samara shows how governance in Cape Town remains rooted in the perceived need to control dangerous populations and protect a somewhat fragile and unpopular economic system. In urban areas around the world, where the affluent minority and poor majority live in relative proximity to each other, aggressive security practices and strict governance reflect and reproduce the divided city.
September 18, 2011