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Faces of the City Seminar – 11 February 2020, Hannah Dawson
February 11, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Do informal settlements exist as a labour reserve at capital’s disposal or a bulwark against the capitalist economy?
Hannah Dawson, Society, Work & Politics Institute, Wits
Date: 11 February 2020
Venue: First Floor Seminar Room, John Moffat Building
Abstract: Do informal settlements exist as a labour reserve at capital’s disposal or a bulwark against the capitalist economy? My aim in asking the question in these terms is to contribute to contemporary discussions about how to theorise so-called ‘surplus populations’ and ‘urban slums’ that have long been presented as a dumping ground for those excluded from wage employment. The paper examines the ways in which the formal and informal sector articulate in uneven ways, reproducing and sharpening localised economic and social differences.
Biography: Hannah Dawson is an anthropologist with research interests in youth marginality and unemployment, inequality, the future of work, and new forms of social welfare in the Global South. She received her PhD in Anthropology from the University of Oxford in 2019, and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Society, Work & Politics Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand. She is working on a manuscript provisionally entitled “The productivity of unemployment: emerging forms of work and life in urban South Africa” which explores young people’s everyday experiences of unemployment in South Africa, and the ways in which unemployment is actively shaping the form and texture of economic life, gender and family relations, and political expectations and demands in contemporary South Africa.