Urban-Political Geography—South African Perspectives

  • Cecil SeethalEmail author
Part of the GeoJournal Library book series (GEJL)


State (or governmental) legislation, policies and action are critical components in Political Geography in general, and for urban areas in particular, with important consequences for, and impacts on, space. A focus on how politics and the local state impact on space in urban areas has, for long, been a central theme in urban-political geography. However, this focus at the urban (or local) scale does not deny that political geography also incorporates studies at the international, regional and national scales. In South Africa, the state—during apartheid and in the postapartheid period—has been largely strong and powerful. State legislation and policies, and their implementation at the local scale have provided a rich terrain for studies in urban-political geography. Urban-political geographers have also extended their focus beyond the political structure to include the economic, social and cultural structures. Moreover, people and organizations (e.g., non-governmental organizations [NGOs], non-profit organizations [NPOs] and faith-based organizations [FBOs]) (collectively referred to as agency) interact with these structures to produce particular (or contingent) spatial outcomes in different localities. Within this context, this chapter provides an overview of some of the key themes in urban-political geographical studies in South Africa.


Politics Urban geography Government Power 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-NatalPietermaritzburgSouth Africa

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