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Spatialities of social justice: Reflections on South African cities.

Visser, Gustav Etienne (2000) Spatialities of social justice: Reflections on South African cities. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The geographical engagement with social justice has neglected to adequately focus on the spatiality of the concept and its implications for geographical investigation. As a first response to this omission, this thesis illuminates the spatiality of social justice by suggesting that the concept is a historically and geographically located understanding of the manner in which society's benefits and burdens can be distributed. This thesis develops a route of geographical enquiry into the concept of social justice that moves beyond the tripartite of structuralist, post-structuralist and egalitarian approaches currently supported in this discipline. Drawing on relatively neglected liberal debates, the spatiality of social justice is investigated in relation to both theoretical and empirical accounts of this concept. It is subsequently suggested that Hayek's liberal challenge to the notion of unitary understandings of social justice, presents a productive alternative to current geographical investigations focused on this concept. Following Hayek's challenge, social justice is presented as a concept that is located, differentiated, bound to particular spatial arrangements and reflected through various imaginations of inclusion and exclusion. In this light a spatially sensitive account of social justice draws attention to the particularity of geography and history in shaping understandings of social justice. These themes are investigated within the concrete historical context of South African urban development. Here, the spatiality of social justice is explored with reference to the construction and demise of apartheid. This specific theme is then developed through a case study of the post-apartheid city of Tygerberg, the second largest local authority in the Cape Metropolitan Area. The investigation of Tygerberg illustrates that understandings of social justice are multiple, contested and located in particular understandings of the urban world at various stages of imagining the apartheid city. These differentiated understandings of social justice persist in the post-apartheid urban era, with notions of social justice shaped by the history and the geography of the apartheid realities from which it has arisen.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Geography, South African Studies, Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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