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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Trialog
Title The Governance of Multiple Elsewheres: Evaluating Municipalities’ Response to Mobility1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
Page numbers 33-38
URL https://s3.amazonaws.com/academia.edu.documents/45017214/Trialog_116_117_06_Blaser_Landau_color.pdf?​??
As the foundation of government, local authorities are
on the front lines of managing the transformation of their
communities in ways that provide stability and economic
opportunities. Even as debates over the specific drivers,
dynamics, and developmental consequences of migration
continue (see Potts 2011; Bocquier 2005; White &
Lindstrom 2005), two messages are clear: First, mobility
and translocality are hallmarks of the contemporary era.
Second, if these are to have positive social and economic
outcomes, local governments need to respond proactively
to movements at all points in the migration process.
Through an examination of six small and large municipalities
across Southern Africa, this article considers what
rapid population growth, continuous movement, and
translocality mean for local authorities. It argues that
while multi-locality and mobility are potential empowerment
strategies for individuals and families grappling
with socio-economic marginalisation, in most cases local
authorities have neither the tools to capitalise on the
opportunities presented by multi-locality nor the ability
to respond to the challenges it presents. In many cases,
shortcomings start with the local officials’ poor awareness
and acceptance that movement and multi-locality can be
positive vectors of change or that their actions can help
determine outcomes. Many simply defer responsibility to
national authorities. Overcoming barriers of awareness
and responsibility is therefore an important but insufficient
first step. Encouraging municipal authorities to embrace
and effectively respond to movement means identifying
and reforming systems of political participation, intergovernmental
and local accountability mechanisms, planning
modalities, and budgeting systems. To help identify the
factors working for or against specific municipalities, this
article concludes by outlining a diagnostic tool for assessing
the readiness of local authorities in an era of mobility
and multi-locality.

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