Turning points : exploring power transitions in an incremental upgrading process in Enkanini, Stellenbosch

Wessels, Berry Steenkamp (2015-04)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study explored whether co-production of knowledge could contribute to shifting power from government to citizens in an incremental upgrading process. It is premised on the notion that such a shift is desirable. The title of the study Turning points: Exploring power transitions in an incremental upgrading process in Enkanini, Stellenbosch indicates the complex, transient and shifting power dynamics at play in the illegal settlement of Enkanini in Stellenbosch. The study was conducted within a larger transdisciplinary research framework seeking to implement socio-technical innovations, generated through a co-production of knowledge process with settlement residents, to move Enkanini towards becoming a sustainable human settlement. A case study provides an overview of engagement the residents have had with the local Stellenbosch Municipality, NGOs and academic researchers from the Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch University. It is complemented by the personal narrative of one of the first residents who moved there in 2006. From personal observations, interaction with residents and coresearchers, meeting notes, the literature review and a grounded experience over the three-year study period, four turning points were identified. These four turning points, interpreted as bifurcations that could open up new ways of engaging with the present to determine alternative futures are explored dialectically. The initial problem for each is described, followed by the response and the resultant challenge that emerged. The four turning points were the initiation of the iShack concept, the start of the iShack Project, the iShack stakeholders meeting and the establishment of the Enkanini Research Centre. As power, in both visible and invisible forms, manifested itself in this volatile settlement and in awareness that the researchers role held power and that the researcher’s sets of knowledge, assumptions and prejudices could affect both research process and outcome, there was a need to find complementary methodologies to the main transdisciplinary research framework. Indigenous research methodologies spoke directly to power and the importance of capacity building and empowering research participants (shifting them to coresearchers), while reflexive research methodologies allowed the disciplined reflection and re-reflection to ameliorate influencing of process and outcome. In addition, each overcame the limitations of the other, in particular the limitation of transdisciplinary research that does not take power dynamics into account. This resulted in the creation of a methodological triad and a conceptual mechanism through which to view the results, termed co-arising. The three themes that had emerged during the process – understanding through knowledge co-production, capacity building through the awareness of power dynamics and engagement with the research space – are fused in this notion of coarising served by the methodological triad. The turning points, or bifurcations, were analysed through an “open” coding system used in grounded theory to minimise pre-conditions determining the outcome. Three dominant categories emerged – empowerment, identity and agency – as determinants for shifting power from government to citizens through effective coproduction of knowledge in an incremental upgrading process. The study concludes with recommendations for future research.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie wou vasstel of die medeproduksie van kennis kan bydra tot ’n magsverskuiwing vanaf die regering na burgers in ’n trapsgewyse opgraderingsproses. Dit het van die veronderstelling uitgegaan dat so ’n verskuiwing wenslik sal wees. Die titel van die studie, Turning points: Exploring power transitions in an incremental upgrading process in Enkanini, Stellenbosch, dui op die komplekse, veranderlike en verskuiwende magsdinamiek in die onwettige nedersetting Enkanini op Stellenbosch. Die navorsing is binne ’n groter kruisdissiplinêre navorsingsraamwerk onderneem wat toegespits was op die inwerkingstelling van sosio-tegniese innovasies om Enkanini in ’n volhoubare menslike nedersetting te omskep. Die innovasies is deur medeproduksie van kennis in samewerking met inwoners van die nedersetting ontwikkel. ’n Gevallestudie bied ’n oorsig van skakeling tussen inwoners en die plaaslike Stellenbosch Munisipaliteit, nieregeringsorganisasies en akademiese navorsers van die Volhoubaarheidsinstituut aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch. Dit word aangevul deur die persoonlike verhaal van een van die eerste Enkaniniinwoners, wat in 2006 daar ingetrek het. Persoonlike waarnemings, interaksie met inwoners en medenavorsers, aantekeninge by vergaderings, die literatuuroorsig en praktiese ervaring oor die studietydperk van drie jaar het vier keerpunte na vore gebring. Hierdie vier keerpunte kan vertolk word as bifurkasies wat kan lei tot ’n nuwe benadering tot die hede vir die skep van ’n alternatiewe toekoms. ’n Dialektiese verkenning van die keerpunte is gevolglik onderneem. Die aanvanklike probleem word in elke geval beskryf, gevolg deur die reaksie en die uiteindelike uitdaging wat daaruit ontstaan het. Die vier keerpunte was die bekendstelling van die iShackkonsep, die aanvang van die iShack-projek, die vergadering van iShackbelanghebbendes, en die vestiging van die Enkanini-navorsingsentrum. Aangesien sowel sigbare as onsigbare vorme van mag in hierdie onstuimige nedersetting te sien was, en gedagtig daaraan dat die navorser oor ’n magsrol beskik het en die navorser se kennis, aannames en vooroordele die navorsingsproses sowel as -uitkoms kon beïnvloed, moes bykomende metodologieë ter aanvulling van die hoof- kruisdissiplinêre navorsingsraamwerk gevind word. In dié verband het inheemse navorsing direk betrekking gehad op mag en die belang van vermoëbou en bemagtiging onder navorsingsdeelnemers (om hulle as’t ware in medenavorsers te omskep). Oordenkingsnavorsing het weer ’n geleentheid gebied vir gedissiplineerde besinning en herbesinning om enige beïnvloeding van die proses en uitkoms te temper. Daarbenewens het elke benadering die beperkinge van die ander ondervang, veral die geneigdheid by kruisdissiplinêre navorsing om magsdinamiek buite rekening te laat. Sodoende is ’n metodologiese drietal en ’n konseptuele meganisme genaamd mede-ontstaan (“co-arising”) geskep, waarmee die resultate ondersoek kon word. Die drie temas wat gedurende die proses uitgewys is – begrip deur die medeproduksie van kennis, vermoëbou deur ’n bewustheid van magsdinamiek, en betrokkenheid by die navorsingsruimte – is byeengetrek onder die gedagte van mede-ontstaan, wat deur die metodologiese drietal onderstut is. Die keerpunte, of bifurkasies, is deur ’n ‘oop’ koderingstelsel uit gegronde teorie ontleed om die invloed van enige voorafbestaande toestande op die uitkoms te beperk. Hieruit is drie dominante kategorieë afgelei – bemagtiging, identiteit en vrye wil – synde bepalende faktore vir doeltreffende medeproduksie van kennis en die gevolglike verskuiwing van mag vanaf die regering na burgers in ’n trapsgewyse opgraderingsproses. Die studie sluit af met sekere aanbevelings vir verdere navorsing.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/96888
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