Burnt edges, looted malls: insurgency and suburban nationalism
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In 2003, Ivor Chipkin (2003) published a study which found that the provision of improved physical infrastructure (taps, housing, new schools, etc.) did not necessarily improve social cohesion in communities with broken homes and gangsters. Physical infrastructure provision, he argued, was not the same as development. It did not on its own make communities more cohesive, democratic and tolerant. The South African concept of ubuntu, or human togetherness, he argued, did not come naturally; it had to be cultivated as part of a programme of social upliftment and empowerment. He used fieldwork from the Cape Flats in Cape Town to show that accommodating street gangsters and their families in better housing units had not stopped them from being gangsters. In fact, on the contrary, the housing programme seemed to be rewarding them for being gangsters. Chipkin contended that the belief that state housing and service delivery would create social cohesion based on "decent and virtuous citizenship", as the policy documents seemed to suggest, was a mistaken assumption. He criticised the state-run housing programme for not attempting to address "how these products [housing units] might assist residents become ethical citizens in a position to sustain themselves virtuously" (Chipkin 2003: 74). He defined ethical and virtuous citizenship as tolerating social and cultural difference, acknowledging the rights and dignity of others, and encouraging social cohesion at family, street and neighbourhood levels. In this regard, he was critical of the state's decision to step away from the challenges of promoting social cohesion and a participatory democracy in favour of the delivery of physical assets, such as taps, houses and toilets, to the poor. He felt that the work of building a new society required much more (Ibid).