Limits of citizenship : a comparative analysis of Zimbabwean and South African women's citizenship agency

Maswikwa, Belinda (2015-04)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Developmental initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa emphasise participatory citizenship as the means through which poor women can assert and claim their citizenship rights. Although citizenship and agency are crucial elements in this narrative, little is known about the citizenship process for African women. Furthermore, there is no analytic framework to guide an empirical analysis of agency. This dissertation aims to address these gaps by examining how marginalised Black African women understand themselves as citizens, navigate their structural barriers and develop strategies to negotiate their membership in and relationship with their states. This dissertation uses a deviant case analysis of women living in Zimbabwean and South African townships, who identify as members of the isiNdebele and isiZulu ethnic groups respectively, to Western theories of agency. Data was collected through the use of in-depth interviews and analysed using content and relational analysis. Results indicate that the women use a range of everyday resistance strategies to negotiate their relationship with their states. These strategies are mapped onto an innovative analytic framework that synthesizes feminist, androcentric and subaltern theories of citizenship agency, in order to highlight the non-conventional ways that marginalised African women exercise their agency as citizens. Interestingly, both sets of women emphasise the obligation to vote, work and support oneself without recourse to the state, rather than a reciprocal and participatory relationship. The internalisation of citizenship as an obligation without a corollary emphasis on rights and participation is problematic given that both governments suffer from legitimacy, corruption and governance issues. The main policy implication arising from the study is that there is a need for civic education in schools as well as a feature of women‟s empowerment and community development programs so that marginalised African women are encouraged to expand their participatory skills to collectively challenge, contest and improve the substance of existing citizenship rights.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ontwikkelinginisiatiewe in Afrika beklemtoon deelnemende burgerskap as ʼn manier hoe arm vroue hul regte kan eis. Hoewel burgerskap en die agentskap (agency) belangrik in hierdie verhaal is, weet ons baie min oor hoe swart vroue burgerskap ervaar. Verder is daar geen analitiese raamwerk om 'n empiriese ontleding van hul agentskap te lei nie. Die proefskrif spreek hierdie gapings aan deur ʼn ondersoek oor hoe arm swart vroue in Afrika hulself as burgers verstaan, hoe hul strukturele hindernisse navigeer en strategieë ontwikkel om hul lidmaatskap van en verhouding tot die staat te onderhandel. Hierdie proefskrif gebruik ʼn vergelykende gevallestudie benadering wat vroue wat in Zimbabwe en Suid-Afrika in “townships” woon en wat hulself as isiNdebele en isiZulu identifiseer na te vors. Data is verkry deur die gebruik van in-diepte onderhoude, inhouds- en verwantskapsanalise. Die resultate dui aan dat vroue ʼn reeks strategieë gebruik vir “daaglikse weerstand” om hul verhouding met die staat te onderhandel. Hierdie strategieë word gekarteer op die innoverende analitiese raamwerk, wat ʼn sintese is van feministiese, androsentriese en subalterne teorieë van burgerskap, om sodoende die nie-konvensionele maniere waarop swart vroue hul agentskap uitoefen te beklemtoon. Beide groepe vroue beklemtoon die verpligting om te stem, werk en om jouself te onderhou sonder hulp van die staat, eerder as om ʼn wederkerige en deelnemende verhouding met die staat te beoefen. Die internalisering van burgerskap as ʼn verpligting sonder die wederkerige nadruk op regte en deelname is problematies. Dit kan gekoppel word aan die feit dat albei regerings gebuk gaan onder legitimiteitsprobleme, korrupsie en probleme rondom regeerkunde, wat vrae genereer oor hoe om hierdie regerings verantwoordbaar te hou. Die hoof beleidsimplikasie van hierdie studie is die daarstelling van burgerlike onderwys in skole, sowel as vroue se bemagtiging in ontwikkelingsprogramme. Dit sal bydra daartoe dat gemarginaliseerde swart vroue aangemoedig word om hul vaardighede rondom deelname te ontwikkel en die substansie van hul bestaande burgerskap kollektief uit te daag en te verbeter.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97111
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