Friday, 16 March 2012

Feminist Praxis, Citizenship and Informal Politics

by Faranak Miraftab, 2006

This article focuses on the Anti-Eviction Campaign (AEC) in Cape Town, South Africa, which is part of the larger anti-privatization movement, mobilized by disadvantaged township residents to assert their constitutional rights and resist evictions and service disconnections. It introduces the mutually constituted concepts of invited and invented spaces of citizenship and stresses the range of grassroots actions spanning those. The article also sheds light on the gender dynamics of the Campaign and how its patriarchal order is being destabilized. The AEC case study engages the pioneering feminist scholarship on citizenship that has embraced both formal and informal arenas of politics. The study points out the risk in constructing yet another binary relation between grassroots coping strategies (in invited spaces) and resistance strategies (in invented spaces). The article calls for a refinement of feminists’ extended notion of politics, recognizing the oppositional practices of the poor in order to construct an inclusive citizenship. It argues that doing so better reflects the practices of the grassroots and furthers a progressive feminist praxis.

Click here to download this paper in pdf.