The reach of citizenship: Locating the politics of industrial air pollution in Durban and beyond

Barnett, Clive and Scott, Diane (2007). The reach of citizenship: Locating the politics of industrial air pollution in Durban and beyond. Urban Forum, 18(4) pp. 289–309.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12132-007-9015-4

URL: http://www.springerlink.com/content/r41828377722n3...

Abstract

This paper develops a relational understanding of the geographies of citizenship action, using the example of environmental activism in Durban as an empirical reference point. We argue that citizenship involves an interactive dynamic shaped by different actors' capacities to project authority and influence over distance by enacting different modalities of spatial reach. Post-apartheid environmental politics illustrates how the relationship between the subjects of environmental rights and agents of obligation is both de-territorialised and re-territorialised by the activities of environmental activists. We examine the politics of attributing responsibility for urban industrial pollution in Durban, and identify two modalities of spatial reach through which environmental rights have been given weight. We conclude by emphasising that forms of transnational activism, while indicative in some respects of emergent styles of cosmopolitan citizenship, remain oriented by the goals of realizing national citizenship rights.

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