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The unauthorized city: Late colonial Lusaka and postcolonial geography

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This paper uses a case study of Lusaka, Zambia, to interrogate several aspects of the literature on postcolonial geography. I deploy two concepts from African postcolonial studies – the idea of exclusionary democracy and the concept of the domestication of difference – and assess the continuity in their applicability to Lusaka. More specifically, I examine the contention that both the political and the planning dynamics of the last years of colonialism are foundational to state–society relationships in contemporary Lusaka. Distinguishing two spheres for in-depth discussion – urban government and housing policy – I concentrate on the final years of colonialism, moving through to the contemporary setting, to examine if the roots still show for the processes creating exclusionary democracy and domesticating difference. I also examine the ambivalent and incomplete character of those processes. I close with an assessment of the broader meaning inherent in understanding Lusaka in postcolonial terms.

Keywords: Zambia; difference; exclusion; housing; postcolonial studies

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2006


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