Interrogating planning's power in an African city: time for reorientation?

Kamete, A.Y. (2012) Interrogating planning's power in an African city: time for reorientation? Planning Theory, 11(1), pp. 66-88. (doi: 10.1177/1473095211419116)

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As part of modern government, planning is concerned with ‘acting on others’ actions’ in spatial practices. This necessarily entails the exercise of power. This paper (re)frames planning’s power in the context of particular systems of governance and how this power is exercised in the relationship between planning systems and (ab)users of urban spaces. Using material from field research in Zimbabwe, the paper examines three forms of power exercised through planning in specific socio-economic contexts. The discussion interrogates planning’s handling of violations of spatial controls by two socio-economic groups: the privileged affluent and the marginalized poor. The paper demonstrates that planning exercises direct sovereign power and cruder and more overtly violent forms of disciplinary power in less privileged context while exercising pastoral power and subtler forms of disciplinary power in affluent contexts. The paper argues that planning’s continued affinity to and unbending deployment of sovereign and crude and overtly violent disciplinary techniques in its dealings with marginalized townspeople is counterproductive and ineffective. The paper proposes the cautious appropriation of pastoral power – especially as it relates to the co-opting of individual and group agency – into planning’s operations in less privileged contexts.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:power, planning, Foucault, disciplinary power, pastoral power, Harare, Zimbabwe.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kamete, Dr Amin
Authors: Kamete, A.Y.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Urban Studies
Journal Name:Planning Theory
Published Online:10 August 2012

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