Enclave urbanism as telescopic urbanism? Encounters of middle class whites in Cape Town

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Drawing on photo-elicitation interviews with middle class, white residents of a privileged neighborhood of Cape Town, this paper infers that many scholars rely on a narrow understanding of the nature and the geography of encounters in cities to make exaggerated claims about the effects of enclave urbanism. Inspired by Amin's (2013a) notion of telescopic urbanism, the author moves beyond the sedentarist focus on residential enclaves to conceptualize a wide range of encounters which may occur inside and in-between enclaves. In the empirical sections, the paper demonstrates that the retreat into patrolled neighborhoods, upscale shopping malls and private transportation is inspired not only by the ambition to avoid crime, but also by the desire to circumvent confrontations with racialized poverty. Yet, by focusing on moments of stasis and mobility inside and in-between various enclaves, the author argues that encounters across lines of race and class still do occur and have the potential to challenge privileged residents to reconsider their stereotypes about the poor and to become aware of their own privileges. As such, the paper ends with a call for more profound, empirical and context-sensitive studies on encounters in enclave cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-192
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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