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Township Economy

People, Spaces and Practices

Andrew Charman (author) Leif Petersen (author)
Thireshen Govender (author)

ISBN: 9780796925770

Publication Date: Jun 2020

Format: Paperback

Provides a unique insight into township informal business and entrepreneurship. The book focuses on micro-enterprises, the business strategies of township entrepreneurs and the impact of autonomous informal economic activities on urban life.

Temporarily out of stock: usually despatched in 10-14 days

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  • Table of Contents
  • Author Biography
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Township Economy provides a unique insight into township informal business and entrepreneurship. It is set in the post-apartheid period, in the third decade of Africa's democracy and draws on evidence collected from 2010-2018 in 10 township sites, nine in South Africa and one in Namibia. The book focuses on micro-enterprises, the business strategies of township entrepreneurs and the impact of autonomous informal economic activities on urban life.

The book is unique in approach and content. It looks at spatial influences at various gradients, from the city-wide level, to objects, to invisible infrastructure. The analysis examines the influence of power as a tool to dominate and control and thus constraint inclusive opportunities. This captivating book will be of interest academic researchers, university students and specialists in business studies, urbanism, politics and socio-economic development.


Powerful and insightful ... a must-read for policy-makers, researchers and anyone else seeking to understand township economies in South Africa.
This book is an utterly compelling labyrinth of ideas, images and mappings that evokes the complexity and vitality of economic life in peripheralised urban spaces.
Pages 330
Dimensions 280 x 210
Date Published 30 Jun 2020
Publisher HSRC Press
Subject/s Economic theory & philosophy   Social theory   Entrepreneurship   Urban communities   Population & demography   Urban economics  
  • Acknowledgements
  • List of tables and figures
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Knowledge Foundation
  • Conceptual Framework
  • Outlook
  • Chapter 2: researching objects, spaces, persons and practices
  • Researcher Reflexivity
  • The Research Sites
  • The Small-Area Census Method
  • Socio-Spatial Methods
  • Diagrams and Drawings
  • Photography
  • Personal Stories
  • Ethical Considerations
  • Chapter 3: Entrepreneurs and survivalists
  • The Scope and Scale of Micro-Enterprises
  • Spatial Patterns
  • Change and Transition
  • Pathways into Business
  • Outlook
  • Chapter 4: The right to use land
  • Land-Use Systems
  • Opportunities and Constraints
  • Two Case Studies
  • Land Transactions
  • Investment
  • Outlook
  • Chapter 5: Spatial ordering
  • The Neighbourhood Economy
  • Micro-Spatial Influences
  • Infrastructure and Architecture
  • Permanent Structures
  • Temporary Structures
  • Mobility
  • Street Life Voices
  • Outlook
  • Chapter 6: The high street and business pioneers
  • Structural Barriers
  • Eveline Street Case
  • Outlook
  • Chapter 7: Transport: efficient but violent
  • The Township Transport Sector
  • The Spatial Economy of Township Transport
  • Thugocracy and Violent Entrepreneurship
  • Outlook
  • Chapter 8: Winners and losers in the grocery territorial battle
  • Spaza Shops in Delft South
  • From Survivalist to Entrepreneurs
  • Spatial Change
  • Shopping Malls, Supermarkets and Wholesalers
  • Outlook
  • Chapter 9: Drinking venues and the leisure economy
  • Liquor Regulation and Moral Panic
  • Scope and Scale of Retailers
  • Sweet Home Farm
  • Programmatic Usage
  • Outlook: Transformative Possibilities
  • Chapter 10: The culture and convenience of foodservice
  • The Food System
  • Food Services
  • Polony and Listeriosis
  • Outlook
  • Chapter 11: Services as social infrastructure
  • Hair Care
  • Educares
  • Traditional Healers
  • Outlook
  • Chapter 12: Sustaining business and coping with risk
  • Business Strategies
  • Social Institutions
  • Capital
  • Divestment
  • Outlook
  • Chapter 13: Conclusions: Protect, contain and disrupt
  • Overview
  • Themes
  • Differentiated Opportunities
  • Space Matters
  • Institutions are Incongruent
  • Corporate Power Stifles
  • Informality Nurtures Economic Resistance
  • Outlook
  • References
  • Legislation
  • About the Authors
  • Index
Andrew Charman is sociologist and development specialist, studying at the University of Cape Town and Cambridge where he obtained a PhD degree. Andrew has worked as a researcher, a project manager and development practitioner on a range of projects across diverse settings in Southern Africa, including rural areas and townships. In 2010, Andrew co-founded the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation (SLF) (www.livelihoods.org.za) with the aim of contributing knowledge about how people were responding to development challenges, through conducting research, enabling participatory engagement and facilitating appropriate support.

Leif Petersen has worked for the last 15 years in the field of South Africa's township microenterprises and markets. As a co-founding director of the Sustainable Livelihoods Foundation NPC (SLF), he has presented a substantive body of academic, commercial and mainstream reporting and presentations on township economy markets, in particular market intelligence for sectors including Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) retailing, supply chain development, and market dynamics of grocery trading, liquor retailing, traditional medicine, and informal manufacturing.

Thireshen Govender is an architect practising and teaching in Johannesburg. Through the awarding of a Chevening Scholarship, he further advanced his studies in Urban Design at The University College of London (Bartlett) in the United Kingdom. In 2008, he founded UrbanWorks Architecture & Urbanism, a design-research studio, to deepen knowledge on post-apartheid spatial practices in order develop innovative and responsive design strategies toward radical transformation in South African cities.

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