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Capital cities today remain central to both nations and states. They host centres of political power, not only national, but in some cases regional and global as well, thus offering major avenues to success, wealth and privilege. For these reasons capitals simultaneously become centres of 'counter-power', locations of high-stakes struggles between the government and the opposition.

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  • How do citizens in poor communities benefit from and perceive state interventions?
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  • What are the implications of the above for community based research, policy and practice?

Development, Social Policy and Community Action: Lessons from Below addresses these questions based on rigorous and multi-faceted research conducted in the poor, urban area of Doornkop, Soweto, using a range of different methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives that all broaden our understanding of citizen-community-state interactions in disadvantaged, urban communities in South Africa.

Solutions to poverty and inequality are often designed, implemented and evaluated in a top-down manner, thereby disregarding the views and agency of the poor citizens themselves. Addressing this gap, the authors explore how government assistance, through social grants and services, as well as community support mechanisms provide solutions to citizens in poor communities and the ways that the citizens perceive and make use of such interventions.

This research study points to the need for more nuanced policy strategies and interventions pertinent to local challenges which also resonate with the global search for solutions in similar contexts. With a fresh perspective that addresses the interconnections between state interventions, community and citizens in sustainable social development, this book provides a case for the importance of conducting community-based research that effectively encourages research findings to support communities to effect positive change.

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Politics of origin in Africa
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In this revealing new book, Boas and Dunn explore the phenomenon of autochthony in contemporary African politics. Autochthony discourses enable the speaker to establish a direct claim to territory by the assertion of being an original inhabitant, a native literally a son of the soil

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Sankara’s legacy, unclear as it may be, still lives and he remains immensely popular. If you travel through Africa his image is unmistakable. His picture, with beret and broad grin, is pasted on run-down taxis and is found on the walls of local bars. Internationally Sankara is often referred to as the ‘African Che Guevara’ and like his South American counterpart; it is his perseverance, dedication and incorruptibility that appeal to the imagination.

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