Claire ILL


Associate Professor, School of Architecture and Planning, Wits University, Johannesburg (South Africa),
Acting Head of CUBES (Center for Urbanism and the Built Environment Studies) ; associate reseacher of Gecko (Paris Ouest Nanterre La Defense University).

Research Themes: 

Local Democracy; Clientelism; Urban Governance; Participation; Political Parties; Spatial Justice; Urban Politics.
Past research themes / programs: 
Coordinator of the programme CORUS ‘The Voice of the poor in urban governance: participation, mobilisation and politics. The case of South-African cities’ (2009-2012); Coordinator – Action Program Yeoville Studio (2010-2012).

Recent Publications:

2014        avec O. Katsaura, “Community leaders and the construction of political legitimacy. Unpacking Bourdieu’s political capital in post-apartheid Johannesburg”, International Journal of Urban and Regional Studies, 38(5), 1807-1832.
2014        avec S. Oldfield, “Claiming ‘rights’ in the African City: Popular Mobilisation and the Politics of Informality in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nairobi, Casablanca”. In Parnell, S. and Oldfield, S. (eds), A Routledge Handbook of Cities of the South. Routledge, London, 281-295.
2013        Community activists tell their stories: Driving change in Johannesburg and Ekhuruleni. Edited research report with MUS Masters class, Johannesburg: Wits University.
2013       with Alain Dubresson, Laurent Fourchard, Karine Ginisty, Sylvy Jaglin, Ayo Olukoju, Sam Owuor, Jeanne Vivet, “Exploring the role of political parties in urban governance”, in Fourchard L, Bekker S, Governing cities in Africa: Politics and Policies, Cape Town: HSRC Press, pp. 17-41.
2012       with Eulenda Mkwanazi, « Expressions de la xénophobie en réunion publique et construction d’une identité de quartier – le rôle des leaders locaux (Yeoville, Johannesburg) », Politique Africaine,  127, pp. 109-134.
2012     “Party politics, civil society and local democracy – Reflections from Johannesburg”, Geoforum, vol. 43, Issue 2. Part of a special issue on ‘Party politics, the poor and the City, edited by Claire Benit-Gbaffou and Laurence Piper.
2012    with Boitumelo Matlala, “Against ourselves – local activists and the management of contradictory political loyalties: the case of Phiri, Johannesburg”, Geoforum, vol.43, Issue 2, p.207-218. Part of a special issue on ‘Party politics, the poor and the City, edited by Claire Benit-Gbaffou and Laurence Piper.
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, number 6. Part of a special issue on ‘Accessing the State’, edited by Claire Benit-Gbaffou and Sophie Oldfield.
2011     with Stephanie Tawa Lama Rewal, “Local Democracy in Indian and South African Cities: A Comparative Literature Review”, in Hofmeyer I, Williams M (eds), Rethinking the South: South Africa and India in the 21st Century. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.
2010     “The researcher as a ball in a political game”, Carnets de Géographes, 1, October 2010.
2010     “Local democracy, clientelism and the (re)politicisation of urban governance – reflexions from Johannesburg stories”, in V Padayachee, (eds), The Political Economy of Africa, London : Routledge, 2010, pp. 286-300.
2008      with Philippe Gervais-Lambony, “Introduction”, éditorial pour le numéro spécial sur ‘Les formes de la démocratie locale dans les villes sud-africaines’, Revue Tiers Monde, 196, Oct- Dec 2008, pp. 733-739.
2008      “Démocratisation et participation locale à Johannesburg: la voix et les voies de la société civile face à des institutions participatives dysfonctionnelles”, Revue Tiers Monde, special issue on ‘Les formes de la démocratie locale dans les villes sud-africaines’, 196, Oct- Dec 2008, pp. 759-778.