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Reflections on Identity in Four African Cities
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summary
Identity has become the watchword of our times. In sub-Saharan Africa, this certainly appears to be true and for particular reasons. Africa is urbanising rapidly, cross-border migration streams are swelling and globalising influences sweep across the continent. Africa is also facing up to the challenge of nurturing emergent democracies in which citizens often feel torn between older traditional and newer national loyalties. Accordingly, collective identities are deeply coloured by recent urban as well as international experience and are squarely located within identity politics where reconciliation is required between state nation-building strategies and sub-national affiliations. They are also fundamentally shaped by the growing inequality and the poverty found on this continent. These themes are explored by an international set of scholars in two South African and two Francophone cities. The relative importance to urban residents of race, class and ethnicity but also of work, space and language are compared in these cities. This volume also includes a chapter investigating the emergence of a continental African identity. A recent report of the Office of the South African President claims that a strong national identity is emerging among its citizens, and that race and ethnicity are waning whilst a class identity is in the ascendance. The evidence and analyses within this volume serve to gauge the extent to which such claims ring true, in what everyone knows is a much more complex and shifting terrain of shared meanings than can ever be captured by such generalisations.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title page
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  1. Copyright page
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  1. Contents
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  1. Preface and acknowledgements
  2. pp. vi-vii
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  1. Chapter 1 - Introduction
  2. pp. 1-8
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  1. PART 1: Social Identity: Construction, Research and Analysis
  2. pp. 9-9
  1. Chapter 2 - Identity studies in Africa: Notes on theory and method
  2. pp. 18-21
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  1. PART 2: Profiles of Four Cities
  2. pp. 23-23
  1. Chapter 3 - Demographic profiles of Cape Town and Johannesburg
  2. pp. 25-44
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  1. Chapter 4 - Demographic profiles of Libreville and Lomé
  2. pp. 45-50
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  1. PART 3: Space and Identity
  2. pp. 51-51
  1. Chapter 5 - Space and identity: Thinking through some South African examples
  2. pp. 53-67
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  1. Chapter 6 - Domestic workers, job access and work identities in Cape Town and Johannesburg
  2. pp. 69-95
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  1. Chapter 7 - When shacks ain’t chic!: Planning for ‘difference’ in post-apartheid Cape Town
  2. pp. 97-117
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  1. PART 4: Class, Race, Language and Identity
  2. pp. 119-119
  1. Chapter 8 - Discourses on a changing urban environment: Reflections of middle-class white people in Johannesburg
  2. pp. 121-143
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  1. Chapter 9 - Class, race and language in Cape Town and Johannesburg
  2. pp. 145-169
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  1. Chapter 10 - The importance of language identities to black residents of Cape Town and Johannesburg
  2. pp. 171-188
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  1. Chapter 11 - The importance of language identities in Lomé and Libreville
  2. pp. 189-203
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  1. PART 5: The African Continent
  2. pp. 205-205
  1. Chapter 12 - What is an African?: Narratives from urban South Africa, Gabon and Togo
  2. pp. 207-223
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  1. References
  2. pp. 225-241
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  1. List of contributors
  2. pp. 242-242
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 243-248
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  1. Back cover
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