, 74:541 | Cite as

Landscapes of flexibility or landscapes of marginality? spaces of livelihood formation in a changing South African city

  • Ben Mosiane


This article examines the idea of ‘flexibility’ within the context of a city. It uses the idea of livelihoods to contribute to the debates on flexibility, particularly on the role that ordinary people play in the transformative potential of cities. A closer examination of ordinary people’s activities show that although livelihoods are crucial to how they adapt to the changing social and economic conditions, such activities largely constitute survival strategies. Importantly, and without subscribing to a paradigm that promotes a city as a closed space, the continuing socio-spatial divisions in the city of Rustenburg, South Africa underscore the fact that ordinary people’s remarkable resourcefulness occurs under circumstances of marginality.


Culture Flexibility Livelihoods South Africa Urban Change 



I am grateful to two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. I appreciate the time and insights of my informants in Rustenburg. All errors and omissions remain the responsibility of the author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeographyNorth-West UniversityMmabathoSouth Africa

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