Making neo-liberal governance: The disempowering work of empowerment

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This article casts light on the ideological apparatus of neo-liberal governance. It tries to analyze how neo-liberalism operates as an authorizing narrative that links ideas such as empowerment, social capital and community participation to rationalize the nature, means, and ends of its governing. Formulation of the community-based waste collection strategies by the municipal government in Cape Town, South Africa, during the period 1997-2001 is the article's empirical focus. The case study shows how the post-apartheid state engaged the discourses of black and gender empowerment to justify waste collection schemes that rely on unpaid or underpaid labor of township residents. The article's conclusion stresses the paradox of neo-liberal governance: it uses the processes of symbolic inclusion, yet also relies on the processes of material exclusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-259
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Planning Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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