Informal-sector organisations, political subjectivity, and citizenship in Zimbabwe

Kristina Pikovskaia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Informal-sector organisations in Zimbabwe have emerged as important political actors, although they have not always been recognised as such. These organisations combated the marginalisation and stigmatisation of the informal sector, which has come to dominate the economy, by the government and local authorities through different forms of governmental and survival politics. In the course of this struggle and through processes of self-formation during training, networking, and collective action, organisations shaped the political subjectivities of their members as capable, independent and self-reliant citizens. The sources and notions of citizenship, however, varied and included rights-based, collectivity-based and ‘respectability’-based citizenship. The article seeks to demonstrate that by influencing their members’ political subjectivities and shaping different notions of citizenship, informal-sector organisations have played an important political role in Zimbabwe not only by facilitating their members’ political participation (as in the case of one of the organisations considered here) but also through more subtle political influences that translated into their members’ everyday politics, attitudes towards the authorities, views on economic informality and self-perception as informal-sector actors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-41
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Southern African Studies
Issue number1
Early online date19 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • citizenship
  • civil society
  • informal sector
  • political subjectivity
  • urban politics
  • Zimbabwe


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