Trier, exclure et policer
Vies urbaines en Afrique du Sud et au Nigeria
Sorting, excluding and policing
Urban lives in South Africa and Nigeria
The major cities of South Africa and Nigeria have a reputation as dangerous, filled with slums and dominated by the black market. Little is known, however, about the ways in which populations are sorted, categorized and policed, in keeping with the methods of social and ethnic reification of apartheid and the colonial era.
In Johanesburg, Capetown, Lagos and Ibadan, the four towns studied by the author, a government based on sorting and exclusion attributes rights, sanctions, and prohibitions to so-called problematic categories of people (delinquents, young people, migrants, single women, street vendors, etc.). Non-state organizations monitor life in poor neighborhoods, control them at night, and use violence against young people and migrants.
In the market, at the bus station, or in the administration, a system of "little arrangements" allows some to avoid exclusion and discrimination. Inhabitants looking for services, authorizations, documents, support, a market stall, or a place at university have to constantly challenge and negotiate access to these things with individuals in positions of power (public servants, union leaders, political supporters, governors).
In this unpredictable urban landscape, beyond the reach of planning, individuals and social groups modify essential aspects of public action through exclusion and violence as well as through negotiation.