Senior Researcher. Urban Policies Programme Director Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing
Current Research Interests
Over the last 10 years my research has interrogated the nature of the informal economy and informalisation processes in South Africa.A persistent theme has been to understand how urban social movements, policies and governance shape the living and work environment of the working poor.As the global research-policy network Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing or WIEGO's Urban Policies Programme Director, this focus, although similar in content, is now extended to the global South.My current research interests include the following:
- Policy and organisation analysis This research considers how the working poor experience urban policies and planning processes, infrastructure and service delivery programmes but also their own organisations.This is partly with a view to identifying and disseminating policy approaches and organisational practise that have resulted in securer livelihoods.Currently the Self Employed Women's Association engagement with the Indian state and private sector are a focus of analysis.
- Legislative analysis Law and litigation strategies are central to securer livelihoods of the working poor.As part of the WIEGO work, I have initiated the establishment of a database of laws and policies that are relevant to the urban working poor.This will be complemented, in time, by analysis of litigation strategies pursued by membership based organisations (MBOs) of the working poor.This is with a view to assisting MBO's in their advocacy but also entails substantive analysis of legal environment and how it can be reshaped to help rather than hinder livelihood strategies.
- Conceptual blockages to inclusive planning Informed by the above, but also detailed empirical work in Durban, which for a period was heralded as an international 'best practice' of informal economy management and support, I am currently exploring conceptual and political economy blockages to inclusive planning for the working poor.
- Urban / city statistical profiles of the urban informal economy This collaborative research aims to establish the best possible picture of informal work in urban areas in general, and a number of large cities in the developing world, in particular.In the process the way in which national statistical agencies in a number of developing countries collect data on the urban informal economy will be analysed.This is with a view identifying how methods can be improved to better reflect the size of, and diversity within, the informal economy as well as its contribution, not only at national but also at a city level.
I teach on the Masters Programme linked to the ACC, entitled: Urban Infrastructure: Design and Management, offered in the EBE Faculty. My teaching inputs are made in two modules of the MA. The first one is titled: "Developing Cities: Issues and Strategies" (CIV5064Z); and the second: "Urban Renewal" (CIV5065Z). See: www.urbaninfrastructure.uct.ac.za/prog. For eight years I taught in the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal's (UKZN) Masters in Development Studies. This included a dedicated course on the informal economy entitled the 'Informal Economy, Globalisation and Development'.I have and will continue to do ad hoc lecturing for the UCT Masters programme in Planning, the UKZN's Development Studies Programme and Harvard University's Masters Programme in Public Policy.
Dobson, R. and Skinner, C.2009.Working in Warwick:Including Street Traders in Urban Plans.Durban:University of KwaZulu-Natal.
Planning and Trader Organisation'ed. Padayachee, V.The Political Economy of Africa, Routledge, London
Skinner, C. 2009. 'Street Trading Trends in Africa: A Critical Review' ed. Bhowmik, S. Street Vendors in the Global Urban Economy. Routledge, New Delhi.
Skinner, C. 2008.'The Struggle for the Streets: Processes of Exclusion and Inclusion of Street Traders in Durban, South Africa', Development Southern Africa, Vol. 25 No
Devey, R. Skinner, C and Valodia 2008. 'The Informal Economy', Human Resource Development Biennial Directory.(Eds) A. Kraak and Press, K.Human Sciences Research Council, Cape Town.
Devey, R. Skinner, C and Valodia 2007. 'The State of the Informal Economy' (eds) Dalia, D in Informal Sector in a Globalized Era.Icfai University Press, Hyderabad
Devenish, A. and Skinner, C. 2006. 'Collective Action for those in the Informal Economy: The Case of the Self Employed Women's Union', in Ballard, R., Habib, A. and Valodia, I. (eds), Voices of Protest: Social Movements in Post-Aparthied South Africa, University of KwaZulu-Natal Press: Durban.
Devey, R, Skinner, C. and Valodia 2006.'The State of the Informal Economy' in Buhlungu, S., Daniel, J., Southall, R. and Lutchman, J. (eds). The State of the Nation, 2005-2006, Human Science Research Council Press: Cape Town.
Devey, R, Skinner, C. and Valodia 2006.'Definitions, Data and the Informal Economy in South Africa:
A Critical Analysis' in Padayachee, V. (ed). The Development Decade? Economic and Social Change in South Africa, 1994-2004, Human Science Research Council Press: Cape Town.
Skinner, C.2006. 'Falling though the Policy Gaps?Evidence from the Informal Economy in Durban, South Africa', Urban Forum, Vol. 17, No. 2. Valodia, I, Lebani, L., Skinner, C and Devey, R 2006.'Low-waged and Informal Employment in South Africa' Transformation 60.
Lund F. and Skinner C. 2004.'Integrating the Informal Economy in Urban Planning and Governance:A Case Study of the Process of Policy Development in Durban, South Africa.'International
Development Planning Review. Vol.26, No. 4, 431-456.
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