Laurence Piper

Researcher Profile

Professor of Political Studies at the University of the Western cape and Board member of the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation, a Cape Town NGO.

Current Research Projects

  1. Informal economy in poor urban settlements in SA. A systematic census of self-employment through business using GPS and interviews with various shopkeepers in a case-study site. Today four sites in the city of Cape Town complete. Sites in Johannesburg and Durban to follow. In partnership with SLF.
  2. Informal politics in poor urban settlements. Essentially framed around Chatterjee’s notion of ‘political society’ and the essentially contested nature of governance over informal and poor settlements. Exploring this through the issue of security governance in one of the sites covered in project 1, Imizamo Yethu. This has participatory action components in partnership with Joanna Wheeler from IDS. Exploring comparative national and international project with Claire Benit-Gbaffou at the University of the Witwatersrand & Sophie Oldfield at the University of Cape Town.
  3. Public participation and governance in poor urban settlements.  An empirical exploration of the meaning of public participation in governance practices in poor areas, currently focusing on the Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading Project in CCT.

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