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Democracy's InfrastructureTechno-Politics and Protest after Apartheid$
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Antina von Schnitzler

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691170770

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691170770.001.0001

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After the Rent Boycotts

After the Rent Boycotts

Infrastructure and the Politics of Payment

(p.65) Chapter 3 After the Rent Boycotts
Democracy's Infrastructure

Antina von Schnitzler

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the “rent boycotts” of the 1980s to show how infrastructure, the provision of basic services and payments to the state have intersected with larger questions about citizenship and forms of political expression that developed in the context of the late-apartheid period. Focusing on Operation Gcin'amanzi and the ways it became an object of large-scale protests, the chapter considers how nonpayment became politicized during the antiapartheid struggle beginning in the 1980s and how, from the 1990s onwards, it was “reframed” as a technical rather than a political problem. It describes Operation Gcin'amanzi and the prepaid meter as attempts to sever the historic link between nonpayment, infrastructure, and claims to citizenship and belonging.

Keywords:   rent boycotts, infrastructure, basic services, payment, citizenship, Operation Gcin'amanzi, protests, nonpayment, antiapartheid, prepaid meter

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