Funded by: The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Department for International Development (DfID)
November 2010 – September 2013
This research explores how the lived relationships between alcohol control (as a debate, field of study, policies and practices), poverty and development in South Africa (SA) are manifested among Cape Town’s (CT) poorest residents. While SA’s urgent alcohol control debate is principally cast as a matter of public health, it also broaches concerns over urban and social development, poverty alleviation, security and post-apartheid social policy. This research therefore focuses on the practices and consequences of drinking as a platform from which to develop a renewed approach to the contemporary politics of the developing city. Drawing on policy analysis, health survey data, stakeholder interviews counterposed with in-depth interviews and small group meetings across four case study townships and informal settlements in CT, the project examines how the lived experiences of drinking are understood and taken up in the policymaking process. By this means, it also interrogates the conditions under which these practices become “problematic”. The project thus aims to contribute to prescient debates in development studies, geography, urban studies and public health; and provide a qualitative body of research to the ongoing popular and policy debate on alcohol and its relationship to broader urban concerns in CT, SA and beyond.
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To watch Mary Lawhon discussing the project in relation to her 2012 Antipode paper ‘Flows, friction and the sociomaterial metabolization of alcohol’