“Festivalisation” of Urban Governance: The Production of Socio-Spatial Control in the Context of the FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa

In South Africa the hosting of the FIFA football world cup was perceived both as a challenge of accelerated social, economic, and spatial transformation, and as an opportunity to showcase the nation’s ability to successfully provide the structures and capacities for one of the biggest sports tournaments in the world. According to the thesis of ‘festivalisation’ such mega-events act as a form of trans-local dynamics which are embedded in the context of increased inter-urban competition in the era of globalisation. Our project aims at investigating the effects of such globalised forms of festivalisation on the urban sphere and society in South Africa. It will especially take into account the provision of a safe and secure urban environment, which was a critical factor during the football world cup and is expected to influence the restructuring of cities and society in its aftermath.

Thus, the project seeks to identify the dynamics of urban governance and re-ordering of spaces at the urban level considering the significations of (dis)order and re-negotiations of state-society inter-linkages. Structures and actors of urban governance are to be analysed using case studies in the South African host cities Johannesburg and Durban. In the “global city” Johannesburg inner city renewal and growth-oriented strategies have for many years influenced strategies of security and safety. Durban has been trying to position itself as prime location for international conventions and big sporting events. Within these two cities, socio-spatial interactions in selected neighbourhoods are examined with a special focus on the role of technologies and regimes of control. A discourse analysis of safety and control in the South African public media and in policy documents will provide an additional diachronic perspective.

Overall, our research aims at investigating relations and translations of approaches to urban development and spatial control between South Africa, the “Global South” and “Western” countries, and at contributing to the interpretation of processes and determinants that constitute (South) African urban governance and its capacity for adaptation. Since the debate on urban governance is informed by topics such as the built environment, privatisation, networks, marginalisation, and social inclusion and exclusion, we have chosen to include these aspects in our empirical case studies.

We would like to thank the School of Architecture and Planning at the  University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg) and similarly the Centre for  Critical Research on Race and Identity and Centre for Civil Society at  the University of KwaZulu-Natal (eThekwini) for the close co-operation,  the intense academic debate as well as infrastructural support and  participation at seminars during preparation and throughout the project.

© photo by Lisa Wiesenthal, Cape Town 2009
© photo by Lisa Wiesenthal, Johannesburg 2009 | Poster by StreetNet International, Durban (http://www.streetnet.org.za/)
© photo by Lisa Wiesenthal, Cape Town 2009
© photo by Lisa Wiesenthal, Johannesburg 2009 | Poster by StreetNet International, Durban (http://www.streetnet.org.za/)


Starting date:

1. April 2011

Research areas:

Johannesburg, South Africa
Durban, South Africa

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