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Place attachment and social disruption in Postmasburg, a rapidly growing South African mining town

  • Lochner Marais
  • Jan Cloete
  • Deidre van Rooyen
  • Stuart Denoon-Stevens
  • Verna Nel


The term ‘social disruption’ is often used to describe the negative effects of mining on the original community’s place attachment. International experience has shown that much of what is experienced as social disruption fades away over time. Yet the notion of social disruption remains an important theoretical construct in mining town research. This paper’s exploration of the notion is based on a 2015–2016 survey conducted in the remote Northern Cape mining town of Postmasburg. We collected data from 1029 household questionnaires, administered to mining and non-mining households in formal and non-formal settlements, and from 20 key informant interviews. We found that the non-mining households’ place attachment had indeed been disturbed. On the other hand, homeownership had encouraged place attachment for mining households. A surprising finding was that the view of social disruption that came out of the interviews differed markedly from the view gathered from the questionnaires: the interviewees presented a much worse picture than the questionnaire respondents.


Place attachment Social disruption Mining town South Africa Crime Housing policy 


Compliance with ethical standard

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lochner Marais
    • 1
  • Jan Cloete
    • 1
  • Deidre van Rooyen
    • 1
  • Stuart Denoon-Stevens
    • 2
  • Verna Nel
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre for Development SupportUniversity of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Centre for Development SupportUniversity of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa

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