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10.07.2021

Gendered Infrastructural Citizenship: Shared Sanitation Facilities in Quarry Road West Informal Settlement, Durban, South Africa

Zeitschrift:
Urban Forum
Autoren:
Neele Wiltgen Georgi, Sibongile Buthelezi, Paula Meth
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Abstract

One significant component of the South African citizenship narrative is centred around the right to basic services and corresponding elements, including dignity and a healthy living environment. This paper employs the concept of infrastructural citizenship, which draws on both infrastructure and citizenship discourses to explore how participants experience and challenge public infrastructure and as such engage with questions surrounding citizenship on an everyday basis (Lemanski, 2019a). Adopting a gendered approach, this paper draws on the empirical case of Quarry Road West, an informal settlement located in Durban, and uses a qualitative methodology. Residents have access to Community Ablution Blocks, free shared sanitation facilities provided by the eThekwini Municipality. This paper argues that restricted access to the facilities undermines perceptions of privacy and health and negatively impacts women individually and in the community. Furthermore, this paper evaluates civic responses to inadequate infrastructure in the form of participation, protest and state-directed actions. As such, it examines how women-state relationships are embedded in public infrastructure, and limitations in regards to infrastructure shape interactions and engagements with the state, their experiences of citizenship, actualisation of rights and identities.

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