Department of Geography

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Claire Bénit-Gbaffou Short Curriculum Vitae

Pole Geogaphie, Amenagement, Environnement June 2018

Aix Marseille Universite

29 avenue Robert Schuman, Aix en Provence 13621 Cedex 1

E-mail :

Personal Details

Place of Birth: Paris Date of Birth: 06 October 1972

Nationality: French (PR in SA) Family Status: Married, two children
Education and Diplomas

2001: PhD, Geography, University of Poitiers (France). Dissertation : Urban fragmentation in Johannesburg. Local government, labour mobility patterns and residential dynamics in the post-apartheid city (in French). With Honors

1996: DEA, Geography, University of Poitiers (France). Dissertation: Urban fragmentation: Study of an immigration neighbourhood in Downtonwn Los Angeles (in French)

1995: Agregation (competitive exam), Geography

1994: M.A., Town Planning, University of Paris I – Sorbonne (France). With Honors

1993: B.A., Town Planning, University of Paris I – Sorbonne (France)

1992 : Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS), Ulm-Sèvres

Professional appointments

From Sept 2018: Maître de conferences, Geogaphie Amenagement Environnement, Aix Marseille Universite.

2012-July18: Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Planning, Wits University

2008-2012: Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture and Planning, Wits University

Sept07-June08: Sessional lecturer, Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, Wits University

2005- 2007: Senior Research Specialist, Urban, Rural and economic Development, Human Science Research Council

2003- 2005: Maître de conferences, Geography and Town Planning, Université d’Aix-Marseille I

2001-2003 Assistant Lecturer (PRAG), Geography and Town Planning, Université d’Aix-Marseille I

2000-2001: Lecturer (ATER), Geography and Town Planning, Université de Paris I – Sorbonne

1999- 2000: Lecturer (ATER), Town Planning, Université de Paris X - Nanterre

1996-1999: Lecturer (AMN), Geography, Université de Poitiers

Awards and Ratings

2013 NRF Rating - C3.

2012 Wits Team Transformation Award for Yeoville Studio


- 2019 (in press, available online) Governing Street Trading in Contemporary Cities. Anatomy of the Policy Instruments Used by the City of Johannesburg in the Post-Apartheid Era. Forthcoming in Urban Practice and Research, 12(2), 2019.

- 2018 (in press, available online) Understanding states practices in city-making, in conversations with Ananya Roy. Special issue forthcoming in Journal of Development Studies: ‘Informal Practices of the State in the Governance of Cities. A view from Southern Africa’.

- 2018 (in press, available online) Operation Clean Sweep and the municipal manufacture of ungovernability. (Not) governing street trading in post-apartheid Johannesburg. Forthcoming in Journal of Development Studies, (as part of special issue).

- 2018 (in press) Why is co-management of parks not working in Johannesburg? The difficult reframing of state mandates and practices in the post-apartheid era. In International Development Policy.

- 2016, Do street traders have the “right to the City”? The politics of street trader organizations in inner city Johannesburg, post Operation Clean Sweep. Third World Quarterly, 37(6): 1102-1129.

- as editor, 2015. Popular Politics in South African Cities – Unpacking Community Participation. Pretoria: HSRC Press.

- 2014. “Are Johannesburg peri-central neighbourhoods irremediably ‘fluid’? The local governance of diversity, mobility and competition in Yeoville & Bertrams”, in Harrison P, Gotz G, Todes A, Wray C (eds), Changing Space, Changing City: Johannesburg after Apartheid. Johannesburg: Wits Press, 252-268.

- with Obvious Katsaura, 2014. “Community leaders and the construction of political legitimacy. Unpacking Bourdieu’s political capital in post-apartheid Johannesburg. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 38(5), 1807-1832.

- Claire Bénit-Gbaffou, 2012, “Party politics, civil society and local democracy – Reflections from Johannesburg”, Geoforum, 43(2), pp. 178-189.

- Claire Bénit-Gbaffou, 2011, „‘Up close and personal’ - How does local democracy help the poor access the state? Stories of accountability and clientelism in Johannesburg”, Journal of Asian and African Studies, 46(5), pp. 453-464.

Research coordination

2018: Organisation of an international workshop, Practices of the State In Urban Governance, 6-8 June, Wits University.

Jan-July 2018: Co-director of the Center for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies (CUBES).

2018: Coordination, with Sarah Charlton, of a special issue of Journal of Development Studies, Exploring informal state practices in Urban governance in Southern African cities

2016-218: Programme coordinator: NRF research grant, Competitive Programme for Rated researchers (CPRR): “State Practices in Urban Governance” (grant number 98940)

2015-2017: Programme coordinator: NRF research grant, Human and Social Dynamics in Development: (HSGR): “Governing Southern African Cities: Visions, Discourses and Practices of the State” (grant number 96277)

2014: Co-edition, with Philippe Gervais-Lambony et al, of a book on Spatial Justice (Paris: Karthala)

2012: Co-edition, with Laurence Piper, of a special issue of Geoforum, “Party Politics, the Poor and the City”.

2011: Co-edition, with Sophie Oldfield, of a special issue of the Journal of African and Asian Studies on ‘Accessing the state: low income residents everyday politics’

2010-2012: Coordination of the Yeoville Studio, a partnership between CUBES / School of Architecture and Planning, and 3 community organizations in Yeoville. Received the Wits Transformation Award 2012.

2010-2012: Director of CUBES, Center for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies, Wits School of Architecture and Planning.

2008-2011: Coordination, with Prof. Alan Mabin, of a 3 years research programme funded by IRD (Institut de Recherche et de Développement) (CORUS): The voice of the poor in urban governance. Participation, mobilization and politics in South African cities.

2008-2009: Co-edition, with Prof. Lauren Landau and Caroline Kihato, of a special issue of Urban forum on Negotiating Access to the City, forthcoming mid 2009.

2008-2009: Co-edition, with Dr. Elisabeth Peyroux and Dr. Seyi Fabiyi, of a book on the Privatisation of security in African cities: urban dynamics and new forms of governance, forthcoming early 2009.

2006-2007: Edition of two special issues of journals on “Participation and local democracy in South African cities”: (South African) Transformation and (French) Revue Tiers Monde

2006: Organisation of a conference: The Place of participation in a democratizing South Africa: decentralization, ward councilors and civil society in post-apartheid cities, 20-21 November 2006, HSRC-IFAS-CUBES (Wits University).

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