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“Because we are the only ones in the community!”

Protest and daily life in poor South African neighborhoods

Jérôme Tournadre

This article is based on research conducted in various South African cities, in contact with organizations involved in demonstrating against poor living conditions. It aims to grasp these collectives outside of their interactions with the political sphere, by moving away from the traditional definitions of a “social movement.” The protesters are here examined in terms of their relationships with their immediate surroundings: the neighborhoods. The point is thus to emphasize the continuities that may exist between protest and daily life. Indeed, one may find elements in the ordinary and the everyday that shed light on some of the logics that structure mobilization and certain practices of protest.