Notions of Place and Identity Formation, amongst recent graduates in South Africa: A case study of Umlazi Township.
This chapter presents the introductory part of this dissertation. Included here is the detailed description of the research, motivation, aim and objectives thereof, location of the study (study area) and overall structure of this dissertation. All these serve as guides to how the study will unfold as this new phenomenon is explored further.
1.1 Background of the Study
The social and economic emancipation of Black people in post-Apartheid South Africa is reflected in the rise of the Black Middle Class. Open discourse of this phenomenon typically hinges on two criteria: access to consumption patterns previously reserved for Whites and residential mobility, that is, the number of households that have left the townships and segregated areas for the formerly white suburbs (Chevalier, 2007). Under the apartheid, government living space was distributed on racial grounds, with each group of non-whites being allocated their own areas and Africans were constricted to townships with mediocre service provision. During the late apartheid era access to mass consumption in the form of shopping malls was largely restricted to Whites (Herpin, 1986). These shopping malls along with the development of tourism exemplified one of the few investment channels open to White capital within South Africa. Ever since the African National Congress (ANC) came to power, shopping centers have sprung up everywhere, reaching the entire populace.
Certainly, President Jacob Zuma has been cited as holding a vision of radical economic democracy that would grant every village its own shopping mall. The new middle class that has grown quite rapidly after the end of apartheid benefits from bigger salaries and access to a wider range of goods and services. After 1994, some Blacks began to move into areas that had been reserved for Whites and the urban areas in general, became more racially mixed than before (Chevalier, 2007). This phenomenon has been analyzed by many researchers and watched carefully by the public authorities as one indicator of the emergence of a non-white middle class. At the same time, the government has made a big effort to improve accommodation and service provision in the townships themselves (Chevalier, 2007). In cooperation with the private sector, they have propelled shopping malls there of a standard and scale comparable to those built in a different place. In the Durban area, the comparatively modest Umlazi Mega City comes to mind or the more ambitious Bridge City Shopping Centre in Kwa-Mashu.
In any case, access to mass consumption, regardless of racial category, has become a central plank of economic and social policy in the country A study done by (Foxcroft, 2012) indicates that, in 2005 53% of the black middle class lived in township compared to more recent figures for 2015, which shows that this has increased to 77%. Many choose to reside in Umlazi Township due to the strong attachment of the place they grew up in. Some also stay for economic opportunities that Umlazi provides. It appears that most recent black middle class prefer to stay in townships (Chevalier, 2007).
Township traditions and social systems institute strong attachments which keep recent middle class shinning in the townships, rather than becoming invincible beings in the suburbs. There are many possible reasons for these demographic trends, however I aim to explore this further by employing place attachment characteristics. This study hopes to unpack and understand why these demographic trends are significant in recent graduates of Umlazi Township.
2. Objectives of the study
To further unpack and understand the notions of place and identity formation amongst recent graduates of Umlazi Township, the study seeks:
To investigate why recent black graduates of means, opt to stay in Umlazi Township.
To explore factors that consist of place/residential attachment, sense of place and belonging in Umlazi Township.
To establish the relationship between place/residential attachment and self-identification In Umlazi Township.
3.1. Questions to be asked:
3.1. Main Research question:
Why recent graduates from Umlazi Township are choosing not to move out?
3.2. Research Sub-questions:
Do recent black graduates feel a great deal of self-attachment to the place they grew up in?
Does place-attachment have a strong effect on self-identification of recent black graduates?
Younger Umlazi residents (the graduates) feel a great deal of attachment to the place they grew up in. I believe that this attachment has its strong effect on the self-identification of young people with regards to Umlazi Township.
4. Statement of Research
The purpose of the proposed study is to investigate factors that consist of place/residential attachment, sense of place and belonging in Umlazi Township. The investigation will be based on recent graduates of Umlazi Township. The aim is to find out, why recent graduates who can afford to leave Umlazi Township are choosing not to do so. These characteristics are strongly linked to place/residential attachment and have a strong effect on self-identity. This will help us understand the root of why recent graduates fill a sense of attachment and belonging in Umlazi Township.
5. Literature Review
5.1. Conceptual framework
Place Attachment: the concept of place attachment in today’s literature lies at the very heart of the studies on people and places (Altman and Low, 1992; Brown, Perkins, and Brown, 2003; Giuliani, 2003; Hernandez et al., 2007). Place attachment is a multifaceted and complex phenomenon that incorporates different aspects of people-place bonding and involves the interplay of affect and emotions, knowledge and beliefs, and behaviours and actions about a place (Altman and Low, 1992; Chow and Healey, 2008). It encourages greater freedom of behaviour, exploration, confidence and affective responsiveness within the local community (Fried, 2000). Place attachment can be defined as the affective link that people establish with specific environments, where they have a propensity to remain and where they feel comfortable and safe (Hidalgo and Hernandez, 2001). Indeed, people develop affective bonds with places that are in part to do with satisfaction, since places permit control and provide opportunities for privacy, security and serenity (Altman and Low, 1992). Taking things further the researcher’s own personal definition would be, the feeling that one feels when they in a particular environment like your home your own city or a neighbourhood: having that sense of belonging or bond coupled with a sense of understanding and fulfilment.
Identity: in social identity theory, a social identity is a person’s knowledge that an individual belongs to a social category or group (Hogg and Abrams, 1998). In early work, social identity included the emotional, evaluative and other psychological correlates of in group classification (Turner et al., 1987: 20). Formulated from multiple readings I would further define this concept, a person’s idea of distinctiveness consisting of age, sex and ethnicity on who they say they are.
Place Identity: place identity, ‘a sub-structure of the self-identity of the person consisting of, broadly conceived, cognition about the physical world in which the individual lives’ (Proshansky et al., 1983: 59). In other words, place identity is a cognitive structure which contributes to global self-categorization and social identity process (Pretty et al., 2003). Twigger-Ross (1996) argues that place can be considered a social category and it is subject to the same rules as a social identification. Therefore, place identification would express membership of a group of people who are defined by their location However Van Wyhe, 2011 gives a better content fitting definition; the personal meaning ascribed to a particular place: the conception of being from a place such as London, Lincoln Place, or “the projects”.
5.2. Theoretical framework
There are several different theories that can be employed to explain the relationship between area or place and identity. They are as follows: Place Identity Theory, The Social Identity Theory by Tajfel (1982), Breakwell Identity Process Theory and Place attachment Theory. However for this particular study, will only focus on the two which are as follows: (1983- 1986), as they better explain the context of place and identity for this research study.
Place Identity Theory
Proshansky (1987) coined the term “place identity “argues feeling of attachment to places, objects and types of environment, together with aesthetic preferences, reflect the affective evaluative dimensions of the individuals place identity (Proshansky et al., 1983; Proshansky and Fabian, 1987), the feeling of affection for a place would develop in individuals who possess positive feelings or emotion of the environment in question exceeds the negative feelings or emotions. However, places normally associated with a positive affect can also preclude the emergence of any feelings of affection or even cause aversion when they threaten the individual’s identity.
Social Identity Theory
Tajfel and Turner (1982) defines social identity to be part of the individual’s self-concept. People structure their perceptions of themselves and often others by means of abstract social categories and become aspects of their self-concept. As the individuals knowledge of belonging to certain social groups and in addition the emotions and values this has to the individual as a group member. Social identity will define groups such as religion, nationality, social status, culture and family and so forth.
6. Location of the Study (For Empirical Studies Only)
Umlazi Township is located twenty five (25) kilometres from central Durban. Umlazi Township was built in the 1950’s as a home to migrant workers especially of Zulu ethnic background. The township has a population of approximately 550 000. The Mangosuthu University of Technology and the Coastal College are tertiary institutions found within Umlazi Township. Prince Mshiyeni is the only hospital that serves the greater Umlazi and the Surrounding communities (EThekwini Municipality, Planning Unit Profiles, Umlazi, 2007). Umlazi, has attracted and been the focus of all black entrepreneurial development; hence it is the preferred choice location for the first Mega City shopping centre. Other small scale commercial activities focusing on entertainment had preceded it and proven highly sustainable.
7. Research Methodology/ Approach to Study
According to Maree (2007: 50), he states that the research design is defined as the plan of how to proceed in determining the nature of the relationship between variables. The research design is also a procedure to be followed to conduct the research process, it indicates what has been done in the research, how it was done and why it was done in a particular way. Research design includes plans, structure, and strategies of investigations which seek to obtain research questions. The researcher is going to use a qualitative method to collect data from the participants; and employ a pilot study. This will ensure good primary data which can be reliable thus providing positive results. The researcher will use a non-probability sampling technique and employ a snow ball sampling method to select thirty participants to ensure that the desired numbers of participants are represented in the study. Focus groups and one on one interviews were used. Five participants were chosen for the pilot study. The interview schedules will be distributed amongst participants from different sections of Umlazi because some sections of Umlazi, identity is a shared and collective experience amongst the recent graduates of that section.
8. Data collection
The instrument for data collection for this study will use primary research tools. Interview schedules will form the primary research instrument to generate empirical data through field research. Secondary sources of data (electronic. resources such as Websites, Journals, peer reviewed Journals, and books) is used to inform the conceptual and theoretical framework of the study. It has also helped in the construction of the measuring instruments which help answer the key research questions.
8.1. Data Analysis
According to McMillan and Schumacher (2001, 464) Findings of the research will be thematically analysed in order to respond to the study. Data collected will form an analytic comparison and data analysis, interpretation and the presentation of the data will be based on the perceptions, understanding, attitudes, knowledge, values, feelings, and experiences of the participants. The findings will be transcribed physically, major themes and direct quotes using the voices of the respondent which will guide the research study. A synthesis of findings will be made in order to make conclusions and recommendations. This will be achieved through proper careful analysis of qualitative data where the main purpose is to allow findings to emerge from the frequent to dominant themes inherited from the raw data. Raw data will be transcribed to Microsoft word. This is a very important subject, as it gives a connection between a person and the environment.
9. Ethical Consideration
According to Welman and Kruger (2001: 171) conducting research is an ethical enterprise. It refers to ethics as a system of morals, rules of code of moral guidelines on how to conduct research in a morally acceptable way. Confidentiality and informed consent will be highly observed to protect participants. I am also concerned with the worthiness of the study and competence in all areas, therefore, respect for human dignity will not be compromised. The researcher has arranged with the library manager for the utilization of one of the study rooms to meet with participants on weekends for the rest of the study. The participants shall have the right to withdraw at any time without fear of being penalised. Ethical consideration will be a high priority.
10. Significance of the Study
The significance of the research study is to explore the relationship between people and places which is characterized by affective and cognitive dimensions, defined, respectively, as place attachment and identification. This research study believes that, the emotional or affective bonds which recent Umlazi graduates feel towards their township is important and it also leads to the construction and re-development of personal and social identities. Some sections of Umlazi project a certain indefinable sense of well-being and become places we want to return to. All respondents will have an equal voice that will be chosen for the research study.
As with many researches, there are many problems which a researcher may prepare for based on their probability of occurrence. Some problems that may occur during the proposed research area:
11.1. One of the limitations in the study of place attachment and identity formation has been its restriction to the spatial range of community/neighbourhoods. Apart from some studies analyzing attachment to house, there is a gap regarding other spatial environments. The study of place attachment has been reduced almost exclusively to studying community/neighbourhood attachment.
11.2. The difficulty of organising participants or availability to participate in focus groups at the same time. This problem will be addressed by looking for other participants in the same area and/or using one on one interviews.
12. Times frame
The proposed time frame of the study can be noted from the table below, however, it could be subjected to change due to external unseen circumstances beyond human control and limitations. Each chapter besides chapter one and five has four maximum weeks to be completed.
13. Dissertation Outline
Chapter 1: Introduction and Background
This chapter will present the proposal and it, will have an introduction and outline the research problem. The background of the research will be provided in the introduction and the background.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
Conceptual framework for the study will be covered in this chapter. The key concepts are defined and explained. Precedents studies will also be included in this chapter. Bodies of literature covering place and identity formation are explained in this chapter and their relevance to the study is highlighted.
Chapter 3: Theoretical Framework
The theoretical framework will cover the theories that apply to notions of place and identity formation. Place and identity formation theories are explained in this chapter and their relevance to the study is highlighted.
Chapter 4: Research Methodology
This chapter will present the Research methodology employed in the study, data collection tools, data sources and analysis. The methods of data collection and the rationale behind their selection criteria are described, followed by ethical procedures used in the study.
Chapter 5: Research Findings, Data Analysis and Interpretation
Findings are presented in this chapter. The data collected from the field work will be analyzed accordingly in this chapter. The responses and results from the interview schedule and focus groups and interviews are analyzed.
Chapter 6: Summary of Findings and Conclusion
This chapter revisits the research question and hypothesis, and provides recommendations in respect of improving use of housing as a financial and economic asset.
2. Conceptual Framework
The main objective of this chapter is to provide a conceptual and theoretical framework for this study. It provides the background and context of the study. The theoretical framework provides an overview of concepts and practices that shape the relationship/connection amongst people and the environment. The conceptual part of the framework reviews the literature that deals with the specific concepts which inform the research problems. It also defines concepts of the study. This framework considers coherent concepts that are organised in a manner that makes them easy to communicate with each other.
This chapter commences with exploring the concept of Place, Identity Formation and Place Attachment. To understand the dynamics that shape one’s identity, we investigate these relationships concurrently. After that the chapter focuses on the factors/dimensions impacting on place/residential attachment, sense of place and belonging which consist of personal, social and physical factors all of which contribute to the development of these constructs will also be presented. Discussions are advanced on how these concepts contribute to the development of place/residential attachment, sense of place, belonging and Identity. The works of Proshansky, (1978), “Place Identity Theory”, and Turner and Tajfel (1982), “Social Identity Theory” are reviewed. These theories can be linked as they expand from the basis of one another. Finally, a review of the literature will be discussed and investigated to identify the experiences and consequences of attachment locally and internationally.
2.2 Place Defined
The place is one phenomenon which is crucial to humanity and has been subject to some studies. In a culture progressively marked by mobility, anonymity and convenience, we have failed to see how places offer meaning, influence behaviour, and shape our perceptions of self. Throughout history, this sense of belonging and identity has been tied to the land, communities, and social networks. In this light Edward Relph, cited by Seamon et al., (2008: 8) concludes that people will always need a place regardless of any geographical, technological or social advancement because ‘having and identifying with the place is integral to what and who we are as human beings’. Tilley (2006:14) stresses the point that “ideas and feelings about identity are located in the specificities of places and landscapes in what they actually look like or perhaps more typically how they ought to appear.” Rose (1995: 88) emphasises that places are significant because they are the focus of personal feelings, which develop from and pervade every aspect of individual’s life experiences. Further, the author assigns identity formation to place since it involves all the subjective feelings associated with everyday consciousness like the feeling that one belongs, feels comfortable, or at home in a particular place. According to Prediger et al., (2008: 45), to be placed is to have a sense of connection, loyalty, affection and identity within a particular context such as a location, a house, a community or country. Hiss (1991) concedes that interaction with places affects our sense of self, our capability to work and function, and ultimately who we become as individuals. The places we live root us and offer a sense of orientation from which we see the world and understand our position within it. It is, according to the authors, the most significant and least recognized need of the human soul (Prediger et al., 2008), this place is dear and a need of humanity thus introspection into the dynamics of place and people is necessary especially at a local level in the south African context is necessary.
Concerning place, Western people remain on the move and are never in one community long enough to acquire a love for it. Yi-Fu Tuan, cited by Prohansky et al., (1983), believes the experience of rootedness is impossible for people living in contemporary Western societies, due to the increased mobility in their societies. As bulldozers of modernisation invade neighbourhoods and upward mobility lures us to improved places, Western countries are increasingly characterised as disconnected and lonely: ‘In America today, nobody is at home’ (Leech, 1999: 14). Orr, (1992: 102) in his text, Ecological Literacy differentiates between ‘residents’ and ‘inhabitants.’ Inhabitants, according to the author, cannot be separated from their particular habitat. Thus residents are in a place for a short period to complete a certain task whereas inhabitants more permanently reside in places.
A resident is a temporary tenant, settling and contributing little, knowing little, and perhaps caring little for the immediate locale beyond its ability to satisfy. Good inhabitancies is an art requiring detailed familiarity of a place, the capacity for observation, and a sense of care and rootedness. With this stated, it would be wise to nurture and educate ‘inhabitants’ in place of ‘residents’ not just for the sake of beauty or utility, but rather because physical structures and land sustain social networks, our physical needs, and our basic humanness. Beyond our need for rootedness in place, Gallagher (1993: 12) links to place to the actions, thoughts and feelings that are shaped not just by our genes, history and relationships, as well as by our environment. While individuals progressively search internally as opposed to outward for insights into their behaviour, the author underlines the significance of a strong supportive, balanced, natural, personal and healthful environment for physical and emotional well-being. The environments in which we live have much to do with the desired expectations, norms, and responsibility that shape individual and collective attitudes and behaviours of a particular place. The significance of place in providing direction, accountability and meaning, which ultimately impacts the actions and behaviour of people, will be essential to how we design, build and maintain local communities.
Regarding urban communities and landscapes, Kunstler (1993) depicts the close connectedness of a people in their place. Building structure and open public spaces that relate to one another alongside different types of physical structures and neighbourhoods offer pride to persons occupying them. The author refers Wendell (2003: 103) who states “most important the land must generally be loved and competently cared for by its people, who, individually, identify their interest with the interest of neighbours and of the country (the land) itself”. The authors are arguing for elements of humanity and nurture for the places we live. In his writings, Sidewalks in the Kingdom, Jacobsen (2003) suggests that Christians, specifically, have an order from God to regard both natural and built environments and steward these places that have been received as blessings. In the Jeremiah 29 passage, God speaks to the Israelites to root themselves in Babylon and nurture the city. This message, according to Jacobsen (2003: 71), may have been God’s way of shaping a people rather than the shaping of a city: “God may have been developing his people in requesting that they invest in and pray for the city of Babylon”.
Sennett, a Sociology Professor at New York University, cited by Leech (1999: 156), likewise remarks on Christianity and urban areas and advocates that life prospers when people reject fixed categories and connects with the incompleteness of the outside world. This regularly requires Christians to change their focus from internal reflection to practices of reacting to the diversity within an urban setting. As Christians experience ‘outsiders,’ ‘impermanence and chance,’ discontinuity and ‘disorientation,’ ‘fragmentation,’ and ‘chaos’ in the urban setting, we should contemplate critically about how our faith informs life patterns (Leech, 1999). There is an important connection between the places we inhabit, how we receive and nurture these places and our identity as a people of God.
2.3 Identity Formation
Place, as a factor in identity formation, has been the focal point of much research in Western societies since the 1970’s. Prohansky, Breakwell, Twigger-Ross and Uzzell have been among the most noteworthy contributors regarding the matter. Qazimi (2014) argues that the feeling of belonging drives the process of relating identity and attachment to a place. This means factors such as comfort, which are defined by various social symbols that are familiar to you in a particular place are the qualities that define your sense of comfort (Qazimi, 2014). Thus, the study seeks to establish the relationship between place/residential attachment and self-identification, it is imperative to draw on the feeling of belonging to the study area which the participants feel towards their place. Cuba and Hummon (1993a, 1993b) as cited by Howard (2000) articulate of “place identities,” which relate to the identities based on a sense of being at home, thus the home can impact upon one ‘s identity with which one classifies himherself with.
The literature on the topic of identity formation suggests the development of identity, in general, is the consequence of differentiation between the self and others. The consequence of interaction, social groups and place in shaping identity is noted by Walker (2007) who expresses that our perception of self, the world, and our relationships are constantly rational and developed through associations with others in our society or membership group. Further, a particular place is often associated with specific social status and lifestyle that maintains members ‘self-esteem’. The subjective, everyday experiences of residents reflect how a relationship to place creates an identity through a complex web of people, structures, and the physical environment (Walker, 2007). Hauge’s (2009) research complements Walkers (2007)’s work on identity formation. Identity, according to Hauge (2009), is the human ability rooted in language, to know who is who. The author focuses on the tangible and ordinary events and associations that build a person’s identity and provide information in regards to one’s attributes (Hauge, 2007).
Howard (2000) goes on to highlight the point that people generally create identities through their talk in conversation thus through the use of language, hence language is a key ingredient, important in the formation of identities. In his study in Umlazi township, Rudwick (2004), established that that Umlazi township learners perceive the assumed link between language and culture as very dear to their identity and identified more as Zulu speakers which in part influenced. SATSSA’s (2018) reflect that Zulu is the majority language of the Umlazi township, thus one can predict that the identity of the residents of this township relate their identity to a certain extent with the language dominant in the community making it easier to communicate with the majority is the neighboring residents.
Howard (2000) argues that geographic space in the modern day era is a foundation upon which identities are grounded upon, and this can be attested upon by the nature of multidisciplinary studies upon the aspect. Hauge’s (2009) study which investigated the meaning and impact of housing on identity formation has been predominantly important to the current research. Using place-identity theory, social identity theory, identity process theory, and place attachment theory, these researchers have uncovered the fundamental ways in which housing, neighbourhoods, and urban communities impact individual’s self-concept and also a community’s perception of its power and capacity to create change.
Developing an individual identity is fundamentally social since it develops through interactions between the individual and others in society, both directly and indirectly. Places, according to Hauge (2007) gives the setting to these essential social ties and relationships and are therefore full of meaning for those who interact and live together. Each of these definitions of identity formation is based upon the work of Mead’s ‘symbolic interactionism’ (Pampel, 2007). Symbolic interactionism assumes that we see ourselves through the responses we receive while communicating with others and thus, our responses shape further interaction, our perceptions of self and social behaviour (Pampel, 2007). In other words, our sense of self is developed through everyday conversations and relationships that give information about our identity. Structural symbolic interactionism, as indicated by Stryker (2007), additionally recognises the complexity of systems and institutions underlying social life such as groups, communities, organisations, and strata (social class, age, gender, ethnicity, and religion) that contribute to self-identity. These large-scale structures form social institutions such as neighbourhoods, schools, places of worship and clubs which give rise to interpersonal networks and relationships influencing behaviours, attitudes, and qualities (Stryker, 2007). Prohansky et al., (1983: 75) point to the significance of this social setting in the development of children. The home, school and neighbourhood, as indicated by the authors, are where children learn important social roles such as family or peer-group member which significantly impact on their development of self-identity.
Identity formation is based on structural symbolic interactionism, as expressed by Stryker (2007), it is based upon placement within these structures, the willingness to internalise one’s placement, and their commitment regarding relationships. However, while behavioural patterns are cultured through various social settings, these multi-faceted parts may not generally commonly reinforce and may even create tension or conflict in one’s self-identification.
Qazimi (2014) outlines that place attachechment and place identity are more significant concepts that refer to people’s bond with places. This study seeks to explore this bond and justify the claims by scholars such as Qazimi (2014) on the attachement of graduates to their homeplaces. The study will add to such knowledge in definining and understanding the concept of place and identity. This is critical in deciding measures that are critical in developing communities.
2.4 Place Attachment
Gustafson (2014) defines place attachment as emotional bonds that are created between people and their physical environment. Thus the environment has an emotional effect on the person as one interacts. These bonds created as one interacts with the environment connections are a powerful characteristic of human life that communicates to our sense of identity, as we create meaning in our lives. Moreover, these bonds can facilitate and influence upon individual and community action.
Consensus about place attachment definition has not yet been reached, and so place attachment continues to be defined and measured in a variety of ways. Iits definition is among the most conflicting in psychology, and not surprisingly, the construct has incurred criticism for its lack of definitional clarity (Giuliani, 2003; Giuliani and Feldman, 1993; Hidalgo and Hernández, 2001; Woldoff, 2002). General conclusions about the connections between place attachment and other concepts may, therefore, be difficult and confused. Therefore, place attachment can achieve neither its applied nor its theoretical potential until a definition is agreed upon, for the most part, researchers describe place attachment as a multifaceted concept that describes the bonding between individuals and their important places (Hidalgo and Hernández, 2001; Low and Altman, 1992).
However, critics criticise the meaning of the term for several reasons. Giuliani and Feldman (1993) take note of that, authors disagree about whether the person-place bond is only this is confounding, given that place character was initially proposed to allude to the groups of perceptions about the physical condition that people use to build up their self-ideas, and influence was just a little piece of this (Proshansky, 1978). Positively, or also negatively, balanced. Another evaluation of the term found that it has been used conversely with other concepts. For example, Stedman (2003) does not differentiate between place attachment and place identity. Furthermore place identity, sense of place and place attachment have all been described as ineffective and emotional terms (Stedman, 2003: Proshansky, 19780. This is confusing, given that place identity was initially intended to refer to the clusters of cognitions about the physical environment that individuals use to develop their self-concepts, and the effect was only a small part of this (Proshansky, 1978).
In several studies, this subjective definition has been virtually replaced with an effective definition and place identity has been defined as an emotional-symbolic connection to a place Moore and Graefe, (1994); Vaske and Kobrin, (2001), or as a filling of familiarity (Cuba and Hummon, 1993). In these cases, place identity has acquired the emotional elements otherwise central to place attachment. Kyle et al., (2004) suggest that place attachment comprises four components: place dependence, affective attachment, place identity, and social bonding.
Moore and Graefe (1994), Williams and Vaske (2003), and Vaske and Kobrin (2001) assert that a two-dimensional model including place dependence and place identity best represents the data. In contrast, Jorgensen and Stedman (2001), Moore and Scott (2003), and Stedman (2002) assert that a single underlying dimension is the most appropriate model. Others regard place attachment as a component of concepts such as a sense of place (Hay, 1998) or place identity (Proshansky et al., 1983).
However, I propose the following meaning of place attachment to suit the purpose of this thesis. Place attachment refers to the emotional impact of one place that people are attracted to it by emotional and social bonds. In fact, place attachment is a symbolic relationship with the place which is formed by giving the emotional meanings, and common sense to a specific place or region and that explains how people percept of places and how they relate to their (Altman and Low, 1992). According to Kaltenborn and Bjerke, (2002), place attachment refers to the emotions devoted to specific environments that are about a specific geographic area, hence the need to investigate if such emotional bonds exist between recent graduates and Umlazi township area.
Place attachment is one measurement of total place sensitivity and positive emotional attachment that develop between place and individual (Stedman, 2003b) and clarify one’s sensitivity to a particular geographical situation that bonds individual to place sensitively. In fact, a positive experience of place is a consequence of positive beliefs and feelings that individuals create in interaction with place and giving significance and meaning to it (Rubinstein, 1993). In this process, people develop their relationship with others and place. There is a direct relationship between place attachment rate and interest to place that is when somebody is attached to a place, he thinks and cares more about it (Mesch and Monar, 1998). This is raised from activities and interaction between human place and humans in a special place. (Relph, 1976; Altman and Low, 1992) And with the bilateral interaction of feelings, knowledge, believes and behaviours in a special place (Proshansky et al., 1983). Place attachment, at the same time, is the emphasis on emotional communication with place based on itself and when interaction took place during facing with place, it is based on attachment theory and belonging to society setting than mere devotion to place (Kyle et al., 2004), so that this word is equal with social attachment and place sensitivity.
Scannell and Gifford (2014) as cited in Gifford (2014) state that place attachment is a phenomenon which has serious implication on people and goes further to reiterate that it could kill, emphasising the strength of the bond between one and his place of attachment. They argue that place attachment is a cognitive-emotional bond that people in their individuality develop over places, that is the bond is both mental and emotional, making individual fond and dependent of those places. Places have a symbolic meaning in the minds of the individuals, and thus bonds are created, and attachment becomes a reality.
(Shumaker et al., 1983) Also express this word as positive emotional dependence between place and the person in neighbourhood units that social groups, physical appropriateness, individual personality and perceived the position of place where people live and assume imperative parts in it. Place attachment was constructed due to individuals interest, understanding and experience to place based on various personal, group and cultural features and social communication among them (Altman and Low, 1992).
In fact, this affair is formed and based on behavioural, emotional and cognitive interactions among people, groups and social-physical places consciously or unconsciously (Brown and Perkins, 1992), also, it was established between individual’s emotional relationship between people and place based on how people judge, prefer and understand or perceive a place (Riley, 1992). Benito also defined place attachment as an emotional dependency to a special place and converts a person to an element of place identity and asserted that this case emerged in the psychological and social process setting between a person and a place and its results in place of sense and dependence (Sime, 1986). Jacob in this case, also, points about place attachment as a deep human characteristic, suggest that people when they face some of these places they express that ‘I belong to it.’ And so they give it a home identity (Layder, 1993).
According to Turton (2016) attachment is an important phenomenon to be looked upon for it can influence the drawing of policies as in the case of policymakers tackling neighbourhood deprivation, where physical or structural decline, loss of social cohesion and crime are a threat. Turton (2016) further reiterates the fact that higher place attachment and sense of community are linked to reduced population turnover and issues of crime; thereby research on this aspect is crucial as its results bring knowledge of human behaviour and responses and in turn helps policymakers in their policy work drawing from research as such.
Moreover, the study on attachment and specifically residential attachment is of importance not only to a single discipline but is important to other disciplines too, hence the multidisciplinary approach to research related to place an attachment. Residential place attachment is of importance to such professions such as urban planners, designers, architects and policymakers. Further, it has been argued that higher attachment, in general, contributes to well-being and life satisfaction. Thus it contributes to psychological wellbeing thereby contributing to better mental and physical health of societies with higher attachment level; thence it is important to introspect on the aspect with such purported benefits to the society. It has also been noted in literature on attachment that residential place attachment research has previously informed on the effects of mobility on individuals and communities on the concept of mobility which is a crucial discussion point in understannding the plight of the graduates (Bolan, 1997; Burholt, 2012; Feldman, 1996; Gustafson, 2001; Mesch and Manor, 1998; Rowles, 1983) as cited by Turton (2016). Thus, this research study seeks to explore and relate this aspect through this study.
The process of attachment to place is considered to be a fundamental human need; it is a need that modern-day society is increasingly unable to satisfy owing to its inclination towards gradual spatial uniformity, increased mobility and hence a purely functionalistic relationship with places (Relph,1976). Gustafson (2014) argues that place attachments have control when it comes to issues that relate rootedness and belonging, displacement, mobility and migration, intergroup conflict, civic engagement, social housing and urban redevelopment, among other issues. Thereby it is apparent that the aspect of attachment is not only multidisciplinary. However, it is of great importance to look deeper into its impact by further research hence the initiation of this research study with the aim to gather more information on this phenomena.
2.5 Factors Impacting on Place/Residential Attachment
The objective and subjective dimensions influencing residential attachment and belongingness include predictive factors which are categorized into personal factors, social and physical (Adriaanse, 2007; Braubach, 2007; Carro et al., 2010; Young et al., 2004). Personal factors refer to a person’s age, gender, race, education level, tenure (renting or homeowner), length of residence and household income (Bonaiuto et al., 1999; Chapman and Lombard, 2006; Filkins et al., 2000; Lu, 1999). Social factors include aspects such as belongingness, quality of community life and community participation (Amerigo and Aragones, 1997; Braubach, 2007; Bruin and Cook, 1997; Potter and Cantarero, 2006; Puddifoot, 1994; Young et al., 2004). Physical factors include aspects such as community layout and design, crime rate, access to services and housing quality (Bonnes, Bonaiuto and Ercolani, 1991; Braubach, 2007; da Luz Reis and Lay, 2010; Hourihan, 1984; James, 2007; James et al., 2009; Potter and Cantarero, 2006; Young et al., 2004).
2.6 Personal Factors
Giuliani (2003), in Bonnes et al., highlights that, individuals generally choose to be attached to their neighbourhood in numerous ways that are dependent upon on their own needs, opportunities, resources, an also putting into consideration of the characteristics of the specific neighbourhood and home. Thus personal factors have a role to play in the process of developing residential attachment. Some have contended that, residential place attachment is argued to incorporate a behavioral element, that is attachment has a role in influencing how human beings act or behave in the attached place, for instance in a situation where one has to make a decision to remain in a place rather than move away (Bolan, 2010).
An individual can develop attachments to their community through their economic (home ownership) and temporal (length of living) investments within the community (Aiello et al., 2010; James et al., 2009; Bonaiuto et al., 1999; Mesch and Manor, 1998; Unger and Wandersman, 1985). Concerning economic investments, homeowners experience more attachment to their community, as they tend to be more financially secure resulting in less residential mobility out of the area. Attachment to the community develops as the likelihood of social connections and the development of relationships with neighbours increases, resulting in enhanced residential attachment Elsinga and Hoekstra, (2005); James et al., (2009); Lu, (1998); Mesch and Manor, (1998). Regarding temporal investments, the longer a person lives in a community, the stronger their attachment to that community usually due to community involvement and extensive social networks Brown et al., (2005); Filkins et al., (2000). This brings about higher levels of residential attachment (Bonaiuto et al., 1999). Differences between long-term residents and new arrivals are the result of different needs, in that new residents are concerned more with physical issues such as housing conditions while long-term residents are more concerned with community improvements Potter and Cantarero, (2006). Newer residents are still adjusting to their new environment and may feel insecure about their place in the new community and that they do not belong yet (Potter and Cantarero, 2006).
Moreover as noted by Scanell and Gifford (2014), gender has a role to play in regards to place attachment, “The place attachment of women is more often social, whereas men’s attachment is more often based on activities. Therefore, the relation between gender and place attachment is complex, and requires further work to disentangle these discrepant findings.” Thereby in the process of this research study one shall seek to find if such disparity exists between the two genders in respect to the area being researched upon, to build on the knowledge present regarding the subject of attachment.
However, Parkes et al., (2002) argued that people staying in an area for over five years were less likely to show decreased neighbourhood satisfaction than others, suggesting that neighbourhood attachment increases in the five to ten years of residency. Long-term residents, particularly those who are members of a community association, are more focused on improving the community as they feel they have their needs and wants to be met, and are more secure and consequently feel they feel they have a place with the community, resulting in higher levels of residential attachment (Potter and Cantarero, 2006). People become attached to places. Place is an important part of people’s concept of home, where they belong, and their roots. The number of people known in the community is also related. The more friends living close by and known in the community increases the level of place/residential attachment a person experiences Filkins et al., (2000); Grzeskowiak et al., (2003); Widgery, (1982). This is because local friendships foster strong community sentiments and more engagement in the community (Grillo et al., 2010; Grzeskowiak et al., 2003). It also determines one’s commitment to staying in the area which enhances community belongingness (Grzeskowiak et al., 2003). The more friends new in the community also provides a valuable source of social support for individuals to help them cope during difficult times, increasing place attachment (Phillips et al., 2004).
Ethnicity is also a determinant of residential attachment (Lu, 1999). Studies have shown that Caucasian people report higher levels of residential satisfaction as they often reside in higher socio-economic areas, and as a result are afforded more opportunities and experiences (Hur and Jones, 2008; Long and Perkins, 2007; Lu, 1999; Mohan and Twigg, 2007). Therefore, it is no surprise that studies examining residential satisfaction among different ethnic groups in higher socio-economic areas have not found any differences in the level of residential satisfaction experienced, because higher income leads to closer economic expectations and commonalities among the groups (Chapman and Lombard, 2006). As a result, income level is possibly a stronger influence on residential attachment than ethnicity (Chapman and Lombard, 2006).
Next to the subject of ethnicity on its impact on attachment to place is the concepts of language. Seamon (1979, 2014) has articulately described place attachment as a phenomena developing through the process of moving the body through space and time, and simultaneously using language to make meaning out of our sensory, thus language is of a crucial role in the process of identity formation and place identity. According to Statistics South Africa (2018) states that 91.4 per cent of the people in Umlazi Township speak isiZulu as their home language. Stephanie Rudwick (2004), outlines that the great majority of the residents of Umlazi Township are isiZulu mother-tongue speakers, the research study will thus reflect on this variable and its impact upon the aspects of the research.
High socio-economic residents experience higher levels of residential attachment as they often have greater access to services and facilities that lead to good health and well-being, aspects that help develop residential attachment (Billig, (2005); Braubach, (2007); Filkins et al., (2000); James, (2008); Jorgensen, Jamieson, and Martin, (2010); Kingston, Mitchell, Florin, and Stevenson, (1999); Mohan and Twigg, (2007); Perez et al., (2001); Schwirian and Schwirian, (1993); Shamai and Ilatov, (2005). However, one study found that higher income level is related to less residential attachment possibly because of higher expectations about the community, and when these expectations are not met results in less attachment, Hur and Jones, (2008). Another study though found income level does not determine residential attachment Mohan and Twigg, (2007).
Age has been shown to be significantly related to residential attachment with older people tending to be more attached and satisfied with their community than younger people Allen, (1991); Bonaiuto et al., (1999); Brown et al., (2005); Chapman and Lombard, (2006); Filkins et al., (2000); James, (2008); Lu, (1999); Wasserman, 1982) thus the need to investigate why recent graduates of Umlazi township are not willing to move from the townships as would be determined by the results of more attachment to place being with older people. This has been attributed to older people being more accepting of their residential situation over a time than younger people and as a result, is seen to have the greatest commitment to the community (Amerigo and Aragones, 1990; Brown et al., 2005; Chapman and Lombard, 2006; Lu, 1999; Perez et al., 2001). Other evidence is that older people maintain attachment by adjusting their criteria for success and failure and it is this subjective criterion which influences their level of with the objective circumstance (Buunk, Oldersma and de Dreu, 2001; Frieswijk et al., 2004).
The main subjective criteria people employ when evaluating their objective life circumstance is social comparison (Buunk et al., 2001; Frieswijk et al., 2004). When an individual compares themselves to another who is worse off, this creates a lower reference point to evaluate one’s situation. This downward comparison results in the person redefining their situation more positively. It is this act that has been found in the research to be more predictive of attachment than other factors such as a person’s aspiration level. Thereby the interest group of this study being recent graduates with a better social and economic standing in the largely poor townships might be more inclined to be more attached to their place as a result of the positive feeling derived from viewing themselves as better than a number of fellow community members (Buunk et al., 2001; Frieswijk et al., 2004).
Education has been found to have a significant relationship on place/residential attachment in that the more educated a person is, the higher their level of place/residential attachment (Chapman and Lombard, 2006). For example, studies have shown that residents with higher education such as a university or college degree, report more satisfaction than residents with a high school education (Chapman and Lombard, 2006; Lu, 1999; Perez et al., 2001). This is believed to be mainly due to lower levels of education being correlated with poorer socio-economic status, and as a result, these people are more focused on their economic survival than participating in the community (Grillo et al., 2010). Also, the more educational opportunities a person has, the stronger their sense of belonging to and participation in the community (Grillo et al., 2010). Other studies, however, have shown that the more education a person has, the less satisfied they are (Filkins et al., 2000; Hur and Jones, 2008). This is due to the expectations of those with higher education levels being high, resulting in them being more critical of, and less attached with, various dimensions of their community (Filkins et al., 2000; Hur and Jones, 2008). Thereby the research study will provide further insight on the matter as it introspects on a similar subjects who are educated graduates in the middle class thus are both economically sound and are educated. Statistics South Africa (2018) highlights that of the above 400 000 people resident in Umlazi only 9.5% of them are in possession of higher education. Thereby a good number of graduates are present in the target location who can be participants in the study.
Mobility is one personal factor which has been considered to be part of the elements determining upon attachment with the general assumption being that those who are more mobile become less attached or have multiple place bonds. However, Gifford (2014) argues that research has shown that reality is in the contrary rather, as in the case of frequent travellers were the ones found to be of the same levels with the less frequent travellers. Further the more frequent travellers also were more involved in community and local matters as compared to the less frequent travellers. Mobility is relevant for attachment as it necessarily does not weaken the place bonds that are existent between individuals and their places (Gifford, 2014).
Gustafson (2001) reiterates that mobility and cosmopolitanism appear to be the norm, whereas local attachment is rather regarded as a deficiency and deviation from the norms of the modern world. Thereby it is of great importance for the research study to look into the driving factors behind the willingness of the recent graduates from Umlazi to stay in the Umlazi Township as this is an unfamiliar characteristic in the current human trends thus the need to understand its underlying drive. It is noted that attachment has a lot of impact on the human and his environment (Gustafson, 2001).
Turton (2016) highlight on the findings of Case’s (1996) study which reiterates that bonds are strengthened after periods of being away, thus if graduates spent their collegeuniversity days at the institutions of higher learning most of the time then they are highly likely to feel more attached to their homes and neighbourhood as suggested by Case (1996). This is in line with the hypothesis of the study which purports that the participants feel a great deal of attachment to the place they grew up in, thereby the two will be put to the test by this research study which will either confirm or deny the existence of such a relationship.
Scannell and Gifford (2014) as quoted by Turton (2016) highlights the fact that home is the most common type of place which is associated with being a secure base by people. A sense of security is essential in regards to the formation of attachment and social identity in human beings. Even though research on this topic is scarce thus the study already being focused on the sense of place felt by participants will thus gather further knowledge on this association.
It has been found that females report higher levels of residential attachment than men (Aiello et al., 2010; Filkins et al., 2000; Fowler, 1991; Perez et al., 2001). This is attributed to emotional attachment to a community being a strong predictor of residential attachment and women having stronger emotional bonding processes than men (Aiello et al., 2010; Fowler, 1991; Perez et al., 2001). As a result, women form stronger ties to the community and therefore, experience more residential attachment (Aiello et al., 2010; Perez et al., 2001).
2.7 Social/Cultural Factors
Hidalgo and Hernández (2001) as cited by Turton (2016) highlights that physical factors are more relevant reasons for attachment to the city whereas the social factors are more important for attachment in regards to the neighbourhood thus this research study will thus need to draw more on the social aspects impacting upon attachment. Massey (1995) claimed that “sense of place” is more than just one person’s feelings about a specific place; such feelings are not the only individual but also social. All places are explained from certain social positions and social reasons” the social aspect of the sense of place is of great importance of in the study relating to place attachment and residential attachment. The social environment consists of the social interactions, relationships and social activities in which a person participates (Bruin and Cook, 1997; Galster and Hesser, 1981; Miller et al., 1980; Sirgy and Cornwell, 2002; Wasserman, 1982). Some researchers claim that social relationships are more important to residential attachment than the physical environment (Amerigo and Aragones, 1997; Fried and Gleicher, 1972). Goudy (1977) was one of the first researchers to consider that social factors were important in determining place/residential attachment (Potter and Cantarero, 2006).
Frieze, Hansen, and Boneva, (2006) as cited by Frieze et al., (2011) highlight that, many people in the world are religious and their religious affiliation is an important social connection and a highly influential aspect of one’s life. The researchers found out that being a more consistent participant in religious services foretold wanting to stay in the region of the university rather than moving to another part of the U.S. in a study of university students from Pittsburgh. Due to the nature region is upheld by in the lives of individuals thus it contributes to the feeling of attachment as attendees of these church services feel associated and similar to the fellow attendees that a sense of identification and attachment is developed from this relationship for the involved individuals. Thus one can predict that religious attendance in an area increases the bond of place attachment.
Previous research has suggested that residents who feel they belong to a community identify with that community (Mellor et al., 2008; Puddifoot, 1994) and as a result, are generally more attached and satisfied with their social relationships and physical surrounding, which in turn leads to higher levels of residential attachment (Bardo, 1976; Bardo and Bardo, 1983; Bardo and Hughey, 1984; Young et al., 2004). Moreover by feeling as if one belongs, ultimately one becomes more attached to a community (Grillo et al., 2010; Hughey and Bardo, 1987; Wasserman, 1982). It is then further argued that the level of attachment one feels for their community also influences their level of residential attachment and belongingness (Aiello et al., 2010). This attachment is described as a bond between a person and their social and physical environment (Bonaiuto et al., 1999; Grillo et al., 2010; Mesch and Manor, 1998; Wasserman, 1982).
An individual develops an attachment to their community through their social (relationships), economic (homeownership) and temporal (length of residence) investments within the community (Aiello et al., 2010; Bonaiuto et al., 1999; Grillo et al., 2010; James et al., 2009; Mesch and Manor, 1998; Unger and Wandersman, 1985; Wasserman, 1982). Thus in the conducting of research, it is thereby necessary to look into the length of stay of participants in the area in order obtain further knowledge into the aspect of attachment. Scholars such as Scanell and Gifford (2014: 278), reiterate that “Longer-term residents develop a more stable bond called a personal sense of place.” This is the sense which makes an individual identify themselves as belonging to a certain place as the bond itself is stable and more defined. In the case that the strong bond is disturbed for example by forced removals, the people attached to the place with the sense of place are bound to be in distress psychologically as not by Giuliani (2003). He further articulates that the resident’s feelings of distress are noted to be as a result of a disruption in their sense of continuity which leads to the disintegration of their spatial identity as well as their group identity, thereby their sense of place was removed. Thereby in light of such findings, it is of importance to further the knowledge regarding the notions of place and attachment in all communities. This is argued to be important in predicting behavioural responses and in the cases where it may lead to social distress, it can provide alternatives to come up with better policies or contingency measures if need be (Giuliani, 2003).
A review of other scholarly work highlighted that other scholars such as Hidalgo and Hernández (2001) who argue that the issue of proximity maintenance is key to the matter of attachment. Proximity maintenance can be described as the wish by one to remain close to the place one they might have grown up in or stayed for a long-time, hence the sense of attachment. This is a central aspect in regards to place attachment (Turton, 2016), thereby a disturbance of such proximity will most likely have detrimental effects on the persons affected, mostly psychologically.
Social relationships include family, neighbours and friends. Attachment to the community depends on the amount invested in these relationships. The more investment and attachment one has, the higher the level of place/residential attachment (Aiello et al., 2010). This investment and attachment can be seen in that strong social networks within a community increase a person’s level of attachments as they provide support and social interaction and can compensate when environmental conditions are poor (Aiello et al., 2010; Amerigo and Aragones, 1997; Brown et al., 2005; Bruin and Cook, 1997; Galster and Hesser, 1981; Grillo et al., 2010; Hourihan, 1984; Marans and Rodgers, 1975; McCrea, Stimson, and Western, 2005; Miller et al., 1980; Potter and Cantarero, 2006; Eft, 1978; Unger and Wandersman, 1985). For example, Filkins et al., (2000) examined social/spiritual attachment which refers to social ties such as local friendships and kin that foster strong community sentiments.
It was found that social/spiritual attributes strongly influenced the community in that the more attached a resident was with this area in their life, the higher their community attachment (Filkins et al., 2000). Generally, the more friends and family in the community one has, the higher their level of residential attachment (Allen, 1991). However, this is only the case if these support networks are strong and not maladaptive. In other words, knowing a large number of people in the community does not necessarily equate with strong social support, showing that strong social ties are the stronger predictor of residential attachment. On a similar subject, it has been found that people are more satisfied with their community if it is seen to be supportive, trusting and friendly (Filkins et al., 2000; Hourihan, 1984; Hughey and Bardo, 1984). In the study by Filkins et al., (2000) these aspects and the social/spiritual areas mentioned above were the strongest predictors of residential attachment.
A positive social environment not only consists of social ties/interactions with family and friends in the community but also the level of one’s involvement in their community (Grillo et al., 2010; Amerigo and Aragones, 1997; Fried, 1984; Unger and Wandersman, 1985; Wasserman, 1982). Belonging to a voluntary association increase one’s ties to the community, Wasserman, (1982). The interactions provided by being involved in one’s community increase the perception of neighbourhood quality, which in turn creates residential attachment (James et al., 2009; Amerigo and Aragones, 1997; Wasserman, 1982). It has been found that one’s involvement in their community is dependent on their perception of the level of safety within the community in that, the safer one feels within their community, the more open they are to social interaction (James et al., 2009; Wasserman, 1982; Marans and Rodgers, 1975). Issues of safety will be discussed in more detail in the next section; however, this does show the link between the social factors and physical in that both play a role in developing a residential attachment.
Moreover, another social factor relating to attachment noted in literature is the concept of homogeneity, which talks to how one is in comparison to their neighbours, that is how similar or different the individual is to hisher neighbours. Research has shown that neighbourhood place attachment is stronger when one feels more socially similar to the rest of their society. As it was noted that living near others who are of similar religion, socio-economic status, religious or ethnic background contribute to an individual’s sense of belonging and thus in turn to some extent contributes to placing attachment Gifford (2014).
Further, the individual is argued to be also able to be highly attached to a place due to the genealogical links they may have with places through the fact that historically their family has been identified with such a neighbourhood or house. Thus a person through family history feels a strong connection with a place as it identifies with generations of family history (Scannell and Gifford, 2014). Therefore there is a need to establish if the participants of the study have genealogical links to the place and how the availability or non-availability of such impacts on the sense of attachment to the place.
2.8 Physical Factors
Many aspects relating to the physical factors affecting place attachment exist such as fear of crime and feelings of personal safety are predictors of residential attachment, as are variables perceived to be associated with crime, such as the presence of graffiti in the community and loitering (Adams, 1992; Adriaanse, 2007; Braubach, 2007; Bruin and Cook, 1997; Carro et al., 2010; Chapman and Lombard, 2006; Hur and Jones, 2008; James et al., 2009; McCrea et al., 2005; Mesch and Manor, 1998; Mulvey, 2002; Potter and Cantarero, 2006; Uzzell et al., 2002). If residents perceive their community as unsafe, they are less likely to be attached, which can result in high residential mobility out of the area (Serrano and Stoyanova, 2010; Grillo et al., 2010; James et al., 2009).
This perception of the presence of crime in a community and how it impacts on residential attachment was examined by Chapman and Lombard (2006). Results indicated that less than 10% of their sample believed crime existed in their community despite crime rate statistics showing higher occurrences of criminal activity in the community (Chapman and Lombard, 2006). This perception of low crime in the community resulted in high levels of residential attachment. Therefore, while the objective statistics present the actual representation of a community, it is the subjective experience that has a stronger influence on residential attachment. Satisfaction with community services (government services such as emergency services; business services such as shopping centres; and non-profit services such as religious services) is also related to community attachment (Allen, 1991; Grzeskowiak et al., 2003; Marans and Rodgers, 1975; Perez et al., 2001; Potter and Cantarero, 2006; Rojek et al., 1975; Sirgy and Cornwell, 2002; Uzzell et al., 2002; Wasserman, 1982). For example, Filkins et al., (2000) examined general community attributes such as schools, police protection and local government services to determine their impact on residential attachment. It was found that the more satisfied a resident was with community services, community attachment was strongly influenced (Gifford, 2014).
These aforementioned a set of results were also replicated in a study by McCrea et al., 2005 in which attachment with community services was also found to be an important predictor of attachment. In turn, excessive and repetitive noise from overcrowding in mass high density housing complexes and a lack of parks and ovals for example, reduces one’s attachment to their community and decreases residential attachment (Bonaiuto et al., 1999; Bonnes et al., 1991; Braubach, 2007; Chapman and Lombard, 2006; da Luz Reis and Lay, 2010; Hourihan, 1984; James et al., 2009; Perez et al., 2001; Uzzell et al., 2002). As a result, the level of attachment one feels for their community influences their level of residential attachment in that the more attached a person is to a community, the higher their attachment. Another physical dimension is an economic attachment which refers to factors such as job security, employment opportunities and future financial security as determinants of community attachment and satisfaction (Bonaiuto et al., 1999; Potter and Cantarero, 2006; Sirgy and Cornwell, 2002). If within a community there are vast opportunities for an individual to be employed, their level of attachment increases as they feel more financially secure. As a result, this has the added benefit of low residential mobility occurring as people do not leave the community to seek employment (Serrano and Stoyanova, 2010; Grillo et al., 2010). This then creates the opportunity for residents to become more attached to the community (Diaz-Serrano and Stoyanova, 2010; Grillo et al., 2010).
Frieze and Li (2010), postulate that previous research has pointed out that economic conditions are not the only explanation for wanting to stay or leave the area where one attended their university studies or where one grew up (Frieze and Li, 2010). However it is apparent that when economic conditions are generally poor, numerous university graduates do leave, but in a situation whereby there has been an improvement in the economy, the general expectation is that graduates will want to stay by the availability of jobs (Frieze et al., 2011).
Interaction with nature is noted by Gifford (2014) as a key factor in creating an attachment with a place. As the individual interacts with his/her environment, a bond is created between the place and the individual. This interaction with nature may be in the form of creating or maintaining a garden where one feels connected to nature thus ultimately the bond to the place is fostered thereby place attachment is likely to blossom (Gifford, 2014).
Moreover in regards to the dwelling people who live in single-family residency are more inclined to be “rooted,” longer-term occupants with plans to stay, than those people who reside in multi-unit residences. One might assume that housing quality is vital in motivating one’s decision to stay or move from a particular environment. However, some studies show that despite the different physical characters that of dwellings around communities, no enough study or examination define their quality as a motivating factor to place attachement (Scannell and Gifford, 2014). Thus, the quality of housing in the area of study in this case might be regarded to be small and not of significant standard yet the occupants might feel attached.
It is also noted that the streets and neighbourhood contribute to the physical aspects which aid or discourage place attachment. The noise level and the busy nature of the street may discourage the place attachment bond development as the community members feel that strangers infest the streets and outdoor spaces rather than being their space as residents hence a decreased attachment level. However the existence of unique features, terrains and designs in the neighbourhood creates an identification with individuals, therefore, in the end, it ultimately strengthens the bond between one and his place (Gifford, 2014).
2.9 Place Identity Formation
The process of identity formation is addressed in Hauge’s (2007) text as well as by Breakwell’s (1986) identity process model. According to Hauge (2007), identity is a dynamic social product of the interaction of memories, consciousness, and organised understanding. Breakwell (1986) and Ross et al., (2003) acknowledge the guiding principles of continuity, distinctiveness, self-efficacy, and self-esteem in deriving aspects or meaningful symbols and memories. These principles indicate that we do not need a special identity theory to explain the influence place has on identity, but rather they offer a process that drives effective and cognitive developments of place attachment (Jun et al., 2009). Together, these developments make up the cognitive element which includes place dependence and social bonding through one’s interactions with significant others and within the context of the everyday activity, a place becomes more and more important, and one thus feels a greater degree of attachment to it. Identity, serving as a standard or reference to individual behaviour, is tied to emotion. In the context of place attachment, places that become central to one’s identity are more likely to be endowed with value or sentiment (Jun et al., 2009). Extensive research supported the researcher’s hypothesis which presumed interactions shape place identities which then strengthen one’s attachment to that place and, in effect, further other affections towards it (Jin et al., 2009). The Phenomenological approach argues that knowledge is gained through determining to mean. Rather than separating and measuring individual behaviours quantitatively, phenomenologists argue that people and the environment cannot be separated hence this research study approaches the aspect with a qualitative approach as to gather information in regards to attachment in a detailed manner.
Jun’s et al., (2009) research is closely related to Breakwell’s (1993) model of place and identity which offers an extensive explanation of four principles contributing to place attachment. These include continuity, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and distinctiveness (Breakwell, 1993). While these principles give rise to place attachment, they also become dependent upon resident’s sense of attachment to the particular place: attachment strengthens affection which, in turn, strengthens one’s attachment to the places in which they live. The researches attempted to uncover the degree to which emotional attachment to a residential environment functions to develop and maintain identity formation processes by measuring the following factors (Scannell and Gifford, 2014).
First, referring to the maintenance of one’s self-concept in a particular place generates a connection to place and sense of confidence. Places will often remind individuals and communities of their pasts through memories, significant buildings, events, and historical markers. Ross et al., (1996), provides evidence for place-referent continuity as well as individual’s desire for discontinuity when entering new stages of life. Evidence was provided for the use of place in maintaining a person’s continuity of self and the use of places to create, symbolise, and establish new selves (Ross et al., 1996). According to the authors, those who are dissatisfied with a particular area did not believe the image of the place was congruent with their self-image and thus did not feel able to belong to that particular place.
Next self-esteem is seen as a principle guiding place attachment and belongingness. Self-esteem, according to Breakwell (1993), refers to a positive evaluation of oneself or a person’s feeling of worth or special value. Places can provide a sense of pride or favorite setting to support self-esteem (Ross et al., 1996). Evidence of positive self-esteem was maintained through participant’s symbolic qualities of the place study (Ross et al., 1996).
Self-efficacy is the third principle and is defined as an individual’s belief in their capabilities to meet situational demands. These beliefs are maintained if the environment can facilitate a person’s everyday lifestyle and chosen activities. Finally, distinctiveness indicates that persons have a specific type of relationship with his or her home environment, such as neighbourhood, which is distinct from any other type of relationship (Breakwell, 1993). Ross et al., (1996) suggest this association enables individuals to differentiate themselves from people from other parts of town by assigning certain attributes to themselves and others such as poor, clean, snobby, friendly or helpful. While Ross et al., (1996) research suggest these principles are based upon one’s attachment to place rather than functioning independently. Further, they contend that place is not a separate part of identity, but all aspects of identity have place-related implications in light of attachment. All of the research shown thus far has provided evidence that one’s environment becomes an important part of identity formation as opposed to merely setting a context in which identity can be established or developed. Hauge (2007) outlines that significance of place had once assumed ‘physical determinism’, today most of those engaging the topic view the people-environment interaction as dynamic and interactive involving social, cultural and psychological meanings of a place. Hauge’s (2007) text suggested that one’s sense of home may be the most important influences on identity.
A further review of research regarding distinct places, such as cities, wealthy neighborhoods, housing projects, and rehabilitation centers will provide a clearer picture of how environments shape our self-concepts. Hence the need for studies as the current which looks into the certain neighborhoods specifically and also at a local context, which is contrary to the existing trends where literature is usually about international communities and the western European frontier, thereby the research study will contribute to the building of local understanding of the attachment phenomena
This chapter explored various details about place attachment and place identity that exist across literature. It provided detailed understanding of the key concepts and terms that are critical in understanding this study. It provided perceptions from existing studies on place attachment and identified how place identity plays a critical role in one’s sense of attachment to a particular place. Therefore, this is important in shaping this study in relating and analyzing the findings of this study.
3. THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
This chapter outlines two theories to be employed in examining this phenomenon and the relationship between area or place and identity formation. These theories include the place identity theory and the social identity theory. These theories were chosen as they better explain the context of place and identity for this particular research study and are useful for the analysis of findings and interpretations of results. Furthermore these theories have provided important contributions to the field of social sciences and psychology emphasizing the influence of the physical setting/environment on identity and self- perception.
3.2 Place-Identity Theory
Place attachment is related to one’s sense of identity in a particular environment, thus place identity. Place-identity theory provides a lens through which we see how places reflect meaning and memory for the inhabited community and how they contribute to an individual’s larger concept of self-comprising of convictions, interpretations, and evaluations of oneself Lalli, (1992). Place involves more than location and provides ‘fragments of human environments where meanings, activities, and a specific landscape are all implicated and enfolded by each other’ Relph, (1992). Rose (1995) further observed that places are infused with meaning and feeling. Hague et al., (2005: 4) suggest that place involves some mix of memory, sensual experience and interpretation implying that place is space defined by meanings, sentiments and stories rather than by a set of coordinates.
Place-identity involves more than attachment. Prohansky et al., (1983) describe it as a “potpourri of memories, conceptions, interpretations, ideas, and related feelings about specific physical settings.” Prohansky et al., (1983), further outlines that we not only experience the physical realities of a particular neighbourhood but the social meanings and beliefs attached to it by those who live outside of it as well as its residents. According to Gifford (2014), place identity is referred to as the merging of the self and the corresponding physical environment as an outcome of regular interaction, thus frequent interaction results in the individual identifying more with place as places become part and parcel of who we are as human beings in our respective environments and spaces we identify ourselves with.
These experiences exert influence and assimilate values, norms and attitudes defining person’s day-to-day existence which are woven into the ‘cognitive fabric’ of place-identity, Prohansky, (1983: 62). Each of these contributes to person’s self-concept and emphasises the personal meaning tied to individual’s cities and neighbourhoods. Hague et al., (2005), postulate that places are also very personal and individual reactions to place are triggered not only by physical features but also by less tangible meanings and memories. Further, Hague et al., (2005), suggests these meanings and values are not purely intuitive but are rather a socially learned and mediated process. This means that our ability to know a place is shaped by what others tell us, filtered by our socialisation, and shaped by class, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, education, and so on.
Rose (1995) adds that while senses of place can be very personal, they are not entirely the result of one’s personal feelings and meanings. Place identities, according to, Prohansky et al., (1983: 61), are developed by thinking and talking about places through a process of distancing which allows for reflection and appreciation. A sense of place may also be articulated through many different media such as novels, paintings, policies, music and film (Rose, 1995). The process of receiving, reconstructing, and then re-telling the narrative constitutes one’s identity (Hague, 2005). Jung, cited by Prohansky et al., (1983: 61), described this dynamic relationship between persons and their physical environments which reveal the nature of self-reinforcing self-identity. Since place attachment is linked to place identity formation, Lalli’s (1992) study is significant because it uncovered characteristics that contribute to strong attachment and consequently place identity formation. These included place of birth, length of residence, sense of belonging, the uniqueness of an environment and its historical centres, social relationships, level of independence and privacy, home ownership, quality and satisfaction and the amount of choice about where one lives (Lalli, 1992: 290).
While the study supports the power of social experiences within a particular environment, Lalli (1992: 301) insists that ‘physical-spatial circumstances affect the course and contents of such construction. Lalli’s (1992) theory provides a larger perspective of combined social and physical factors influencing feelings of attachment and identity in regards to place. Gifford (2002) uses ‘environmental psychology’ about the study of transactions between individuals and their physical setting and emphasises the interactive and dynamic relationship between people and places.
While people seek and create environments that support and strengthen their perception of themselves, Gifford (1987) suggests that our surroundings also influence us. For instance, positive feelings towards a particular place are based upon evaluations of that place regarding goodness or beauty Gifford, (1987). The author further believes that the built environment can have a persistent impact on our emotions and trigger emotional responses which then influence behaviour. Person’s emotional responses are tied to the meaning attributed to the built environment such as one’s attachment to it, what the structures communicate, and their purpose or function. The meanings ascribed to neighbourhoods are often more important to residents than the quality of physical structures or the opportunity to redevelop.
Through meaningful relationships, experiences, memories, socialisation and social structures, Hague (2005) argues that places take on an identity. Narratives of place identity are constructed over time and are expressed publically through symbols and language generating cultural realities. Relph, cited by Seamon et al., (2008: 3), suggests places provide identity-based on their uniqueness in regards to physical setting, activities, situations and events and the meaning created through these experiences. The author also distinguishes between ‘inside-ness’ and ‘outside-ness’ in which the former describes a ‘deep unself-conscious immersion in place and the experience most people know when they are at home in their community and region’, and the latter conveys a sense of strangeness and alienation’. In other words, our unique surroundings not only contribute to our definitions of self but also provide intimate connections to places of which we can claim and belong. While the feeling of ‘inside-ness’ provides a sense of belonging and security, these place identities may also encapsulate power relations based on the broader social context such as the social, cultural and economic circumstances in which individuals find themselves (Rose, 1995).
Examining place attachments, Manzo et al., (2006: 340) noted how individual and power relations manifest themselves in the everyday uses and meanings of place. Who we are and where we feel we belong are influenced by gender, race, ethnicity, and class. Hague (2005) raises an important question, “Whose place-identity is it?” Authentic place identities may be distorted based on levels of superiority and expectations to conform. Power relations can affect senses of place, according to Rose (1995: 100), when one sense of place becomes so dominant that it obscures other understandings about that same place. The dominant perception or group can also affect who feels included in a particular place. Rose (1995) points to social differences that establish spatial boundaries and determines who is considered to be insiders. Ideas about difference are articulated through the construction of the other or those who do not fit and feel threatened by the dominant sense of place, which bridges senses of place, power and identity. While place identities provide a sense of belonging and identity, distortion and corruption can undoubtedly produce greater social inequalities.
While various authors have focused on identity as it is tied to relationships and social networks, Prohansky’s et al., (1982) work returns to the way in which places become a substructure of one’s identity. Since individualism is strongly valued in Western societies, noted by Hauge (2009), group memberships are less significant than personal attributes in regards to individual identity. By place-identity, Prohansky et al., (1982) does not merely mean place-belongingness, strong emotional attachment to, or identifying with one’s home, neighborhood, family setting, or hometown, but rather a cluster of cognitions in the form of images, memories, facts, ideas, beliefs, values, and behavior tendencies relevant and directly related to the physical world existence of the individual (Prohansky et al., 1982).
These ‘cognitions’ are closely tied to the emergence and development of a person’s identity and thus contribute to place-identity. They must include patterns of understanding, competence, and resource skills the person has developed during adaptation Prohansky et al., (1982). Since these processes and events evolve over time and in particular places, self-identity must also emerge similarly. Prohansky’s (1983) model has been criticised by others who claim that it lacks a theoretical framework and is based on subjective feelings of identification with home and neighbourhood (Hauge, 2009). Ross et al. (1996) further claim that Prohansky’s model excludes any account of the processes guiding action about identity and therefore it does not offer explanations of how or why places become essential for the self-concept Ross, (1996).
Place-identity, according to the literature focuses on the incorporation of place into the broader concept of self. However, more research is necessary to understand how a loss of place such as going away to college, selling the family home, or when the old neighbourhood gets redeveloped affects individual’s sense of self (Gifford, 1987). Since our awareness of place in shaping our own identity is mostly, ‘unselfconscious,’ according to Lalli (1992), these ties and meaningful relationships only emerge when the settings we hold most dear become threatened.
3.3 Social Identity Theory
Hauge, (2007) argues that home and dwelling are essential things endeared to most people’s lives, and as a result, these play a significant role in influencing identity that is how one identifies themselves, for example, one might choose to identify themselves relating to where they come from. There is a consensus amongst the more recent studies that the middle class is expanding and that there has been a significant increase in the black share of the middle class (e.g. Stats SA, 2009) thus a need to understand how this emerging middle class identifies itself socially as this study seeks.
Hauge’s (2007) description of social identity theory emphasises one belongs to specific social groups and the emotions or value tied to group membership. Statistics South Africa as of 2018 notes that slightly above 7 per cent of the Umlazi households have an income of above R150 000. Turner (1982: 15) defines a social group as two or more people sharing a common social identification and a collective perception of social unity which causes them to act as a group. Accordingly, social groups share a sense of belonging or spirit of togetherness. Tajfel (1982) similarly suggests that social groups perceive themselves as well as others using social categories which, in effect, influence group behaviour. This process of forming a social identification and establishing behavioural norms. According to Turner (1982), involves locating oneself within a social category and provides value to him or her along with emotional significance. The perception of belonging to a social group or category is affected by four variables including extreme similarities between people, common fate, shared threat and physical proximity (Turner, 1982: 25). The most powerful of these actively define group members and reflect positive rather than negative attributes.
Hauge (2005) cites Turner (1982) stating that social identity is a part of the individual’s self-concept, that is how the individual views himself/herself about them belonging to a certain social grouping. As individuals structure their perceptions of their selves and others in abstract terms they as a result, produces group behaviour, thus creating a social identity. Some parts of our identity will then be silent as a result of the group dynamics, while on the other hand, our behaviour is more swayed by group membership than other contexts. Moreover, the author believes social groups adapt behaviour to their environment in shaping the norms of a particular place and contributing to the greater identification, as this is a continual process of identity creation.
Hauge (2007), additionally proposes that self-esteem results from group membership and are maintained when people move to places that preserve or enhance individual self-identity and move away from places that have negative impacts on self-esteem. The influence of place on identity, therefore, is a result of a holistic and reciprocal interaction between people and their physical environment: people affect places, and places influence how people behave and see themselves (Hauge, 2007). The recent graduates of Umlazi may have a positive interaction in their community as it boosts their self-esteem and thus their continued residence as moving to other communities would say where they are less familiar and have less self-identification with the environment. This idea is supported in Hague’s (2007) writings; she argues that a place is usually related to a specific group of people, also related to a certain lifestyle and social status. In the interest of preserving positive self-esteem, this then entails that people will be more likely to prefer places that have physical symbols that uphold and augment their positive self-esteem, and these people, in the end, will seek to avoid places that have negative impacts on their self-esteem.
Qazimi (2014), argues that “People create a perception of themselves and others using abstract social categories, and these perceptions become part of people’s self-concepts. Humans define selves with factors that characterise the groups to which we belong” thus understanding of how the participants of the study will be identifying themselves, whether they view themselves as part of the Umlazi community. The main proposition of social identity theory is that individuals will want to belong to groups that can make a positive contribution to self-esteem, as this positive contribution boost one’s self-esteem consequently so does the attachment to that place as it is associated with positive memories and feedback.
It should be noted that as argued by that, “place attachment is not merely related to our emotions and thoughts; it also has implications for behaviour. One of its key behavioural outcomes is stewardship; people want to protect their place, provide the necessary upkeep and maintenance, and preserve its special meanings.” Thus the results of the study are thus important in building knowledge which contributes to the wellbeing of societies as it is of importance about human behavioural response.
Gifford (2014), highlights of the benefits provided by place attachment has the benefits which emanate from its existence such as the existence memories, places viewed as important to one can make one memorialise past events, people and ultimately provide a sense of continuity over time returning one to the past constantly through the memories. Moreover, place attachment has the benefit of bringing a sense of belonging. The need to belong is one of the major psychological needs thus place attachment provides one with a social group and sense of belonging, thereby contributing positively to one’s psychological well-being.
Furthermore, Gifford (2014) reiterates that place attachment also provides with physical and psychological comfort, thereby those attached to their environment, in turn, feel comfortable in their environment. It is postulated that the feeling of comfort is a great benefit to the society especially in those situations whereby a sense of safety and security is felt within the individual. Connecting to nature is one inherent need which humans have, if a place which one is attached to, has nature to connect with, ultimately the act has a consequence of bringing positive affect, improve cognitive processes and also can reduce the symptoms of attention deficit disorder.
Being attached to a place has some psychological effects. Research on the notion has shown that those individuals who happen to be more attached to a “place”, have a general tendency to identify their place in a more positive light, in comparison to those who are less attached, tend to have a usually more negative rating of their place. Moreover, another implication is that people who are more attached are more likely to take action to protect their place from changes they perceive to be threatening, thus if one is attached to their environment, they are more likely to take measures that will protect their environment from threats perceived.
However there is also a disadvantageous side to the issue of place attachment whereby if one is strongly attached to a place but at the same time lacks control, thus if the place is tempered with or is destroyed the individual is bound to be a situation which Scannell and Gifford (2014), describe as “place bondage”. This is a situation whereby one continues to hold on to places that inflict harm or fail to meet a variety of their needs, thus a person may refuse to vacate a place in danger of volcanic eruption or such other disaster such as floods as they cling to their attachment of the place.
In summary, this research study is geared towards examining notions of place and identity formation amongst recent graduates. The main objective of this chapter was to present appropriate theoretical frameworks that could be useful for analyzing the findings of the research study. These theories include the place identity theory and the social identity theory. This chapter also revealed how these theories relate to each other and how they can be used in conjunction as the frameworks for analyzing research findings. As presented in this chapter, the place identity theory and the social identity theory are closely related and all create meaning for the findings about place and identity formation…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
4. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
This chapter describes the research procedures that will be implemented to undertake this study. This is followed by the research design that will be used with explanation for the rationale of the choice of the research design, followed by discussions on the target population, the sampling techniques, the instruments for data collection, how data will be analyzed and presented and ethical considerations in the study.
4.2. Research Design
According to Maree (2007: 50), “research design is defined as the plan of how to proceed in determining the nature of the relationship between variables. The research design is also a procedure to be followed to conduct the research process, it indicates what has been done in the research, how it was done and why it was done in a particular way” (Creswell, 2002). Research design includes plans, structure, and strategies of investigations which seek to obtain research questions. Kothari (2004) states that, research design is the glue that holds all the elements of a research problem together. It is arrangements of conditions for collection and the combination of data to show how the major aim of a research are going to be achieved.
According to Mouton (1996: 175) the research design serves to “plan, structure and execute” the research to maximize the “validity and reliability of the findings”. It gives directions from the underlying philosophical assumptions to research design, and data collection. Yin (2003: 19) adds further that “colloquially a research design is an action plan for getting from here to there, where ‘here’ may be defined as the initial set of questions to be answered and ‘there’ is some set of (conclusions) answers”. In this reearch study, being a new study in Umlazi Township, qualitative approach provides an in-depth knowledge about the various notions of place and identity formation, factors that consist of place attachment, sense of place and belonging in Umlazi Township and the relationship between place attachment and self-identification. The study is an exploratory one, which aims to investigate the notions of place and identity formation amongst recent graduates in Umlazi Township.
The literature scan has indicated that a study of this nature has not been undertaken. As an exploratory study, it hopes to explore the nature and extent of notions of place and identity formation amongst recent graduates who might feel a great deal of self-attachment to the place in which they reside and whether this shapes their identity. Being an exploratory research study, the findings will help to provide a baseline for further testing of assumptions in regard to place attachment and the shaping of identity amongst recent graduates of other South African townships. The research design applied in this dissertation is qualitative to answer the research questions. Qualitative research involves an interpretive, naturalistic approach to its subject matter; it attempts to make sense of, or to interpret, phenomena in terms of the meaning people bring to them (Denzin and Lincoln, 2003).
According to Domegan and Fleming (2007: 24), “qualitative research aims to explore and to discover issues about the problem on hand, because very little is known about the problem”. There is usually uncertainty about dimensions and characteristics of problem. It uses ‘soft’ data and gets ‘rich’ data. According to Mayers (2009), qualitative research is designed to help researchers understand peoples, and the social and cultural contexts within which they live, such studies allow the complexities and differences of world under study to be explored and represented.
4.3. Description of Target Population
The target population of the study consists of male and female graduates from Umlazi Township, people that have received a diploma or degree upon completing a course of study in a College or/and University in South Africa. Participants participated in focus group interviews and one on one interviews. The researcher selected participants randomly to reflect a wide variety of gender, age, race occupation residency and family background each participant was a resident of Umlazi Township and has lived in their community for more than five to ten years.
4.4.1. Sample Population
A population is a group of individuals, objects or items from which samples are taken for measurement. It also refers to an entire group of persons or elements that have at least one thing in common (Bless et al., 2013) A term sample in relation to research refers to “any part of the population regardless of whether it is representative or not” (Burns, 2000: 83). Selected sample is that part of the population that is strategically selected to participate in the study. Others describe a selected sample as ‘representative’. The sample size is thirty participants (graduates) that are of black ethnicity who will represent the entire population. Both males and females will constitute the research participants in the study. Therefore the researcher used different strategies to select participants/samples who would act as representatives of the population.
4.5. Sampling Methods
The study used a non-probability sampling technique and employs a snow ball sampling method to ensure that the desired numbers of respondents are represented in the study. Snowball sampling is a method that has been used in the social sciences to study sensitive topics, rare traits, personal networks and social relationships (Kaplan et al., 1987). It is especially useful for this study since a study of this nature has not been undertaken at Umlazi Township. (A limitation of using non-probability sampling techniques is that generalization is often limited). However this being a case study, certain interferences can be made about recent graduates place attachment and identity on other townships in South Africa.
An advantage of using a snowball sampling according to Bless et al., (2013: 176), “It helps to identify someone who meets the criteria for inclusion in the study by asking them to recommend others who may know who else also meets the criteria to be part of the study”. Although this method would hardly lead to representative samples, there are times when it may be the best method available especially when very little is known about a particular phenomenon or social issue
4.6. Instrument for Data Collection
The instrument for data collection for this research study will use primary research tools.
Interview schedules, focus groups interviews and one on one interviews will form the primary research instrument to generate empirical data through field research. Secondary sources employed in the study enabled the researcher to carry out literature review of the study, which informed the findings and recommendations, major sources for such were electronic resources such as journals, and peer reviewed journals, reports internet sources and text books.
4.6.1. Pilot Study
The research study being addressed here used interview schedule, focus groups and the researcher as a human instrument in data collection. It was imperative to pre-test all these instruments to ensure that they would capture the required information and this was done through a pilot study. The pilot study enabled the researcher to review the questions that were in the interview schedules. Pilot studies have been done in information needs related studies. For example (Twidle et al., 2006) pilot their questionnaire on 15 participants; it was finally administered to 128 participants. In order to increase and test the reliability of these instruments, a pilot study was done from October 2017. Gorman and Clayton (2005: 98) mention that, a pilot study means taking the draft research plan and applying it in a neutral location that will not be used in the actual fieldwork or collection of preliminary data in the actual locations from which data are to be collected. Either way, a pilot study allows one to test several variables and to iron out any initial problems before preparing the broad plan that will direct the entire research project. The idea is not to get data per se, but to learn about the research process, interview schedule, observation techniques and the researcher as the instrument. The variables being tested include data collection methods, the time frames of the investigation and the researcher as the instrument. Revisions are made accordingly from the pilot study so that the actual study is of better quality.
The pilot study, employed 5 Umlazi township graduates with one female to test the interview schedule questions and participant’s answers. The pilot study provided useful insight, in particular it was established that question 13 and 15 had to be changed as participants could not comprehend the meaning of the questions. It was also established that focus group discussions were long and data could be confusing to the researcher. Therefore, discussions were moderated, such that participants do not talk at the same time to allow for good recording. In addition, the pilot study showed the need to observe participants who are dominating discussions as well as those who seem to be withdrawn and the need for the interviewer/researcher to try constantly to balance the discussions. Moreover, the researcher not only learnt the importance of distinguishing all the individual responses in the focus groups, but also that of capturing them accurately. It was found that immediate transcription of field notes and records would help to minimize data confusion and enable meticulous analysis of data. The pilot study was done not only to ensure that the study’s instruments would yield the needed information, but also as an additional way of increasing the quality of the data for this study.
4.6.2. Interview Schedule
The interview schedule is a set of questions along with their answers asked and filled in by the interviewer in a face to face meeting with interviewee (Goode and Hatt, 2013). In this study, the interview schedule will be a useful instrument in obtaining descriptive data about attachment/belongingness and identity. The interview schedule was distributed fairly among male and female participants. The participants represented the users who were present in the study area and willingly participated at the time of the focus group interviews. The participants were predominantly young with the majority of them aged between twenty five and forty (25-40) years old from the main black ethnic group which exists in Umlazi Township. Each individual was contacted personally by the researcher by phone or in person, for those residing near. In order to be consistent in the data gathering process with all participants, a pilot study of 5 participants was conducted which served as a guide to ensure that the same areas of the research problem are covered with each interviewee. This has ensured trustworthiness in that the data obtained will be standardised for all participants in the research study. Marshall and Rossman (2011: 149) explain focus groups as a method of interviewing that originates from marketing research. Marshall and Rossman (2011: 149) state that in a focus group the interviewer creates a supportive environment, asking focused questions to encourage discussion and the expression of differing opinions and viewpoints.
Moreover, Marshall and Rossman (2011: 149) argue that these interviews may be conducted several times with different individuals so that the researcher can identify trends in the perceptions and opinions expressed, which are revealed through careful, systematic analysis. However, focus groups according to Marshall and Rossman (2011: 150), have the disadvantage of power dynamics that need to be controlled, as some people in the group dominate discussions, thus foregrounding individual’s viewpoints instead of the groups. In addition, time can easily be lost while dead-end or irrelevant issues are discussed and data are difficult to analyse because context is essential to understanding the participant’s comments. Focus group interview lasted from thirty minutes to sixty minutes depending on the participant’s openness. Interviews were held inside the seminar rooms at the Umlazi W library.
The interview schedule was divided into different sections and questions were open-ended which allowed the researcher to probe more. Participants will not be asked for their names to ensure confidentiality and anonymity. Section one questions were based on the participants history to their community, satisfaction and the ability to adapt and identity. These questions were guided towards the subject of community, level of involvement or relationships within the community and remaining in Umlazi Township. The second section, questions were designed to uncover participants attachment, personal associations, self- perceptions and participants interpretation of their experience and belonging. The third section consists of the personal connections relating to the area/community one resides in. A copy of the interview schedule has been attached as reference.
There are various forms of interviews- particularly, structured, semi-structured and unstructured interviews. Flick (1998: 76) feels that the interest in one on one interviews is related to the expectation that the interviewed participant’s views are more to be expressed than they would be in a non-one on one questionnaire. McMillan and Schumacher (1993: 426) assert that qualitative research comprises interviews that have open- ended questions to acquire data from participant meanings- how individuals perceive their world and the way they explain or make sense of the important experience of their lives. In this study, the interview is reflected as a research data approach used with the specific motive of gathering data by way of verbal communication using a scheduled series of questions. Structured one on one interviews was, perceived as the most useful option for data collection. It proved to be quite difficult in organizing graduates all at the same time, as some work outside Durban and could not be available on the agreed times for the interviews.
In this research qualitative interviews as described as described by Mouton (2000: 196) – were used which “emphasize the relativism of culture, the active participation of the interviewer, and the importance of giving the interviewee voice”. Moreover the interview questions a structured. Participants were asked the same questions which were tape recorded for later analysis. This was done in order to provide valid and reliable data. Macmillan and Schumacher (1993: 14) maintain that qualitative research, commonly, presents facts in narrative form. Bless and Smith (2000: 104-109) cite the following as the advantages of qualitative interviews:
They permit free interplay between the interviewer and the interviewee.
They permit opportunities for explanation so that relevant data is captured.
They maximize description and discovery.
4.8. Plans for Analysis of Data
Focus group interviews were conducted in English. The notes and answers were made during focus group interviews, notes and answers were than analyzed for thematic patterns. The data was analyzed by exploring the narratives given by the participants and grouping data under the theme headings. Key aspects of each account are interpreted using the various theories that were tabled in Chapter Two. Experiences described by participants are further read in context defined by similar research conducted on the relationships between people and places.
4.9. Ethical considerations
Ethical clearance for this research study was granted by the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal (UKZN) Higher Degree’s committee after submitting the gate-keepers letter collected from UKZN registrar. The researcher approached the Municipal Institute of Leaning (MILE) which is a knowledge management initiative of the eThekwini Municipality for permission to conduct the research study. Each interview schedule contained a consent–giving section where participants were required to indicate that they were participating in the study voluntarily. Verbal consent was also taken especially with the interviews with relevant participants before proceeding with data collection.
Conducting a study that seeks to improve understanding on how the notions of attachment is able to shape ones identity and to the extent which leads to the construction and re- development of personal and social identities requires the use of sensitive research methods and tools. A qualitative research design was used with the interview schedule, employing focus groups and structured one on one interviews as instruments for data collection from samples selected through a snow ball sampling technique. Interview schedules were analyzed using thematic patterns identified as being critical to the research study and findings were presented using narratives. Narratives from the study participants were subjected to content analysis to extract the most popular responses.
ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA
This chapter analyses and interprets the findings acquired from thirty participants who participated in the study. The research study’s main purpose was to understand the notions of place and identity formation amongst recent graduates of Umlazi Township, which displayed rich stories, depictions, deep insight and cases that gave voice to their physical and social environment, individual meaning and personal experience. This study sought to explore the relationship between people and places which is characterised by affective and cognitive dimensions, defined, respectively, as place attachment and identification. The understanding of such will thus add to the body of knowledge about the notion of place and identity formation; thereby its findings may be employed in the matter in deciding on matters and policy affecting the relationship between the neighbourhoods and people, by municipalities, government and other stakeholders. The research study employed the use of the place identity theory and the social identity theory as these theories helped the analysis of the study findings.
As part of the study, interviews were conducted. These interviews were recorded, then transcribed and analyzed. The data was thematically arranged into common stories that relate and were developed by revisiting views presented in the literature to reflect on the implications identified in Umlazi Township. This chapter thereby presents the findings of the study, discusses and analyses the outcomes through common themes that were identified.
5.1 Socio-Economic ramification.
The study noted that there is a socio-economic aspect to the question of place attachment and identity. Scholars such as Frieze and Li (2010), note that place attachment is mostly influenced by socio-economic factors such as the availability of employment and other related opportunities. The interviews with participants found out that, each participant regularly alluded without hesitation to the days when there was exceptionally little economic activity in Umlazi Township when employment was found in the neighbouring areas like Durban, Chatsworth, Isipingo and the Industrial areas. They reflected on how these experiences led to the migration of people to various places where they could access better living conditions and access to employment opportunities. The participants highlighted how people used to walk to and from work because of financial challenges at that time. Most of the participants interviewed described the past with deep pity, be that as it may, a few moreover talked abstractly about the past and present. One participant gave a common description of Umlazi township before its present economic growth:
“It was kind of sad to see someone you know in the area walking to work in the morning and coming back in the afternoon to places like Chatsworth and Isiphingo it could have been a family member, your next door neighbour or an elderly person; we would even laugh at them because we didn’t even understand the conditions that they were facing”. (Participant no 8, November 2017).
The following statement from one of the participants, referring to previous years which were characterised by lack of jobs and development in Umlazi Township stated:
“The community or neighbourhood, which we lived in had like one policeman and a nurse living at the other end of our community. Some areas you would only find one teacher in the whole section of that area in the township. Some residential areas didn’t even have one civil servant during the early nineties, and thugs were very common”. (Participant no 3, November 2017).
Another participant added,
“You find those that are employed and are civil servants you get your police, teacher, nurse and social worker reside in certain Umlazi sections with higher economic and social standings like W, AA, BB and High Ridge…Presently this gap has been reduced you find almost, (if) not all section of Umlazi township a civil servant employed by the government or municipality”. (Participant no 10, November 2017).
More so, the findings of the study indicate that there has been a change and a community upgrade in public service delivery regarding policing and other related social services such as education. One participant explained in reflection to the past that,
“Cops are everywhere, we live and play with them, in my street alone we have like four police officers and one is a female and a close friend of mine”. (Participant no 2, November 2017).
The above statement indicates how the community has positive community reinforcement and demonstrates a sense of security community members have with having their neighbours being part of the police. The above reflections outline of the difficulties that most people faced and the ignorance that most young people had towards the socio-economic realities of the time. They also outline the changes that have taken place in Umlazi and the transition that has been happening over the years. It is important to note that there is a huge contrast between the past experiences of Umlazi and the current changes. The community has grown to become more economically vibrant and attractive to most young and old people alike. The opportunities such as new business and public infrastructures that were previously unavailable are now at an increase. As a result, it’s creating more opportunities for employment.
Thus, Umlazi Township today offers better socio-economic opportunities and livelihood than in the past, which is attracting most young graduates to feel more attached to the community. Research has shown that in places where job opportunities are more easily available, low residential mobility occurring as people do not leave the community to seek employment (Diaz-Serrano and Stoyanova, 2010; Grillo et al., 2010). More so, even though each participant alluded to the days Umlazi Township had exceptionally little economic activity, the older generation felt the weight of this time most significantly. One of the participants indicated how the current socio-economic conditions fascinated him, considering how it never used to be like that, he said:
“There is a lot that is always going down, like happening around here regarding socio-economic development, for me that’s something that is kind of hard to believe, judging from where we come from as a township”. (Participant no 15, november2017).
Furthermore, another participant stated: “Currently, the township is more productive than it was, all the businesses are active: social, and entertainment places like Max life Style and Eyadin shisanyama have transformed Umlazi Township to a tourist destination for locals and international guests”. (Participant no 13, November, 2017).
These outcomes have made a difference by creating local jobs, contributing to local socio-economic development. Researchers have argued that when economic conditions are generally poor, numerous university graduates do leave, but in a situation whereby there has been an improvement in the economy, the general expectation is that graduates will want to stay with the availability of jobs (Frieze et al., 2011). Therefore, one of the participants indicated his excitement about the life in Umlazi and his willingness to stay as he said,
“People are working; you have access to local stores, and the cinema, local restaurants, saloons and shops, things are accessible: things are right here in Umlazi Township, this has become a first-class township, there is production and people are opening stores in every corner and are doing it for themselves”. (Participant no 18, November 2017).
A positive change in every environment particularly in the economic infrastructure plays a significant role in promoting the willingness of community members to stay and in this case graduates. Scholars argue that place attachment is nurtured through the existence of job security, employment opportunities and future financial security, these, in turn, result in the sense of community satisfaction as in this case of Umlazi graduates (Bonaiuto et al., 1999; Potter and Cantarero, 2006; Sirgy and Cornwell, 2002).
The socio-economic ramification of Umlazi Township influences not only the current levels of unemployment but moreover the communal sense of identity, meaning and principle which is often connected to work. It is important to note that previous research has pointed out that economic conditions do not only explain wanting to stay or leave the area where one attended their university studies or where one grew up. Thus, the prevailing economic conditions are conducive for recent graduates to reside in Umlazi township as their economic needs are satisfied (Frieze and Li, 2010). If within a community there are vast opportunities for an individual to be employed, their level of attachment increases as they feel more financially secure. As a result, this has the added benefit of low residential mobility occurring as people do not leave the community to seek employment (Diaz-Serrano and Stoyanova, 2010; Grillo et al., 2010).
5.2 Ubuntu (Humanity), friendliness between social declines.
A common theme that was uncovered through each interview was a sense of Ubuntu (Humanity) friendliness, and warmth related to where participants live. For some, this sense of Ubuntu (humanity) and friendship was the centre of the interview whereas others also attributed to a positive depiction of their social experience after discussing issues or the disappointments they have experienced. For instance, some participants interviewed spoke positively about their community or area that they reside. One stated,
“This is a great community: we get along with all our neighbours, it’s safe, neighbours watching out for each other, this keeps the children safe at all time, I know almost everyone in this area”. (Participant no 20, November, 2017).
The positive interaction provided by being involved in one’s community increases the perception of neighbourhood quality, which in turn creates residential attachment in this case (James et al., 2009; Amerigo and Aragones, 1997; Wasserman, 1982). One participant a woman said,
“It’s been great in Umlazi Township; I have great friends that live in this area, they have been most helpful; they look after my three-year-old daughter when I am at work.” (Participant no 21, November 2017).
More so, a man stated,
“We have fantastic neighbours that understand our day to day struggles that is one of the attractions to where I live. There is good stability, and I have had neighbours welcome my family and me as I am new to this area and we have started relationships that are ongoing”. (Participant no 25, November, 2017).
These people appeared to adore and love where they lived and life of their township and community. Filkins et al., (2000), investigated social/spiritual attachment. This attachment refers to the social ties such as local friendships and kin that foster strong community sentiments in individuals.
Other participants, however, were not so positive about the conditions of Umlazi Township but still recognised the presence of positive relationships and good individuals in the area. One young man first expressed his community as terrible and destitute where
“Most of the people, generally, are on social grants and are alcoholics” (Participant no 28, November, 2017).
However, he goes on to engage on positive sentiments as he reflected on how nice and decent it was to
“Kind of know everybody in my community”. (Participant no 28, November, 2017).
Further, he said he liked that he could call any neighbour if he had a crisis or if he needed something and concluded by saying,
“I have met a lot of good people in Umlazi”. (Participant no 28, November, 2017).
Therefore, one can reflect that though the aspect of community and oneness seemed to be an attraction, there is discontent amongst some young people when it comes to welfare status of most residents in Umlazi.
More so, the study also found out that the community also plighted with challenges of drug abuse. This was another negative sentiment the community is associated with. However, participants indicated how the value of oneness (Ubuntu) preceded the social challenges that existed. Thus, one woman indicated that despite the serious challenge posed by drug abuse in her community, the community still had great people, as she outlined that,
“However I know a lot of people in Umlazi Township, exceptionally great individuals, they are not awful people”. (Participant no 4, December, 2017).
Even though each of the participants noted a sense of Ubuntu (Humanity) or community-related to Umlazi Township, some participants talked about destitute social life or a decrease in positive relations. Whereas two participants stated
“There are a few people that live close to my area that I have never met or know,” and “you don’t have a lot of young families that remain within the community for a long time”, (Participant no 9 and 30, November, 2017).
Recent graduates of Umlazi Township were most vocal about the decline they have experienced in community life. Another woman stated;
“You don’t have neighbours that will help you cut the grass for free and stuff like that, you have to pay someone to do it for you”. (Participant no 6, December, 2017).
More so, one participant depicted Umlazi Township area as a “little big township” that has both a little town feel where community members feel like they know everybody whereas also having the feeling of big township because community members can frequently discover themselves in circumstances where they do not know anybody. Another said,
“Just by getting to Umlazi Mega city mall and the newly constructed uMnyandu Mall, beyond any doubt to bump into somebody you know and some cases it appears like it is lively a lot around here particularly during the June and December holidays. A few other times it just seems dead, and zombie-like and you don’t get to see anyone that much”. (Participant no 22, December, 2017).
This clash between the participants’ positive social experience, a decrease in friendliness and the particular burdens confronted by those interviewed appeared to exist right through the study. The significance of these influences not only affects relationships but also to the communal sense of identity.
5.3 Social Problems.
These issues included drug activity, grand theft auto, vandalism, prostitution and troublesome youth behaviour. Unfortunately, the majority of the participants talked about the issues they have seen or experienced related to such as this. One individual spoke with rage as he indicated how;
“The neighbourhood now it is an awful situation, you got car theft, your prostitution, drugs and some things.” After that, he said, “These young student coming out of school they are like wild animals, they cause a lot of disturbances, and the police have to be called on a lot of times because they don’t listen.” (Participant no 17, December, 2017).
In turn, excessive and repetitive noise from overcrowding in mass high density housing complexes and a lack of parks and ovals for example, reduces one’s attachment to their community and decreases residential attachment (Bonaiuto et al., 1999; Bonnes et al., 1991; Braubach, 2007; Chapman and Lombard, 2006; da Luz Reis and Lay, 2010; Hourihan, 1984; James et al., 2009; Perez et al., 2001; Uzzell et al., 2002). Another individual also commented on the youth in Umlazi C section;
“The police have to stop their car up Sibusiso Mdakane Road because the Kwa-Shaka High school is so bad, they caused havoc, always bunking classes and up to no good during School hours”. (Participant no 11, December, 2017).
The most common problem mentioned was drug use in Umlazi Township. One participant said,
“What has made a big difference is the establishment of Bang houses around Umlazi Township as a whole: Big houses that are abandoned and left by their owners are converted into a Bang House, is where young people gather and do drugs and prostitution”. (Participant no 23, December, 2017).
Research has shown that, if residents perceive their community as unsafe, they are less likely to be attached, which can result in high residential mobility out of the area (Diaz-Serrano and Stoyanova, 2010; Grillo et al., 2010; James et al., 2009). Further, those participants that talked about drugs in Umlazi mentioned their fear about the high drug activity. One female participant said,
“I would not go out at night anymore in this particular community or area; we are surrounded with drugs; there is a lot of people that come from other sections of Umlazi that you do not know, so I do not think it is safe”. (Participant no 14, December, 2017).
“The people moving in the area were on drugs, and cars were coming and going constantly buying drugs and ones in a while you could hear a gunshot”. (Participant no 19, December, 2017).
Also, another participant talked about the fear of giving one of the drug dealers out in which case,
“Them or one of their friends would come back and try to get me for it or something, and particularly because there’s a lot of people that know you around here and you know a lot of people”. (Participant no 1, November, 2017).
Other than drugs and the troublesome youth and the general lack of respect was talked about during the interviews. Again, filled with anger, one stated,
“There is not a day that goes by in this area that police aren’t chasing car thieves; a sound of a gunshot would be present”. (Participant no 27, November, 2017).
Ten participants talked about witnessing a live police chase and heard gunshots going off these sort of activities damage property including municipality infrastructure because a car crashed into a municipal building during a police chase. Another participant also talked about (Woonga smokers) regularly use his street;
“You get plenty of rubbish and waste because of the people in the area; there is a lot of traffic since it’s very close to Eyadini (township shisanyama), a lot of party-goers come through on weekends, people from all sections of Umlazi and other places. I found used condoms in my property, half-smoked cigarettes and I also found Nando’s package, there is a lot of disrespect for your property what so ever.” (Participant no 26, January, 2017).
Research has noted that the noise level and the busy nature of the street may discourage the place attachment bond development as the community members feel that strangers infest the streets and outdoor spaces rather than being their space as residents hence a decreased attachment level (Gifford, 2014). However the existence of unique features, terrains and designs in the neighbourhood creates an identification with individuals, therefore, in the end, it ultimately strengthens the bond between one and his place (Gifford, 2014).
Along with some of the considerable problems such as drug use and care theft some participants also talked about negative stereotypes experienced and felt by residents. While the majority mentioned the perceptions of people that live from the surrounding areas and outside Umlazi Township in regards to criminal activity and danger. Two participants feel the weight of these stereotypes strongly. One participant said,
“During high school years as a kid, we were viewed as parallel with King Shaka that was seen as a very bad a troubled area where people were willing to fight, and there was a lot of violence and drugs, and we have that status”. (Participant no 7, November 2017).
Another participant who recently graduated from Mangosuthu University of Technology added,
“There are a lot of stereotypes that people have said about Umlazi Township, what kinds of really sticks in the head that this is a bad place and we do not want to be here”. (Participant no 5, November, 2017).
It appears as though the internalisation of these stereotypes could be among the greatest risk to the community, that our ability to know a place is shaped by what others tell us, filtered by our socialisation, and shaped by class, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, education, among other aspects (Hague et al., 2005).
5.5 Deteriorating Infrastructure.
Other issues were experienced and felt among the majority of participants regarding infrastructure degradation and houses in Umlazi Township. Filkins et al., (2000) examined general community attributes such as schools, police protection and local government services to determine their impact on residential attachment. It was found that the more satisfied a resident was with community services, community attachment was strongly influenced (Gifford, 2014). Generally, participants seemed to be upset by deteriorating municipal grounds/parks and RDP houses that were incomplete. Gifford (1987) suggests that our surroundings also influence us. For instance, positive feelings towards a particular place are based upon evaluations of that place regarding goodness or beauty. This means there is need of maintenance of basic public recreational facilities such as parks. Twelve of the participants indicated that despite the increase in development infrastructures, there was deterioration in the maintenance of most public infrastructures such as playgrounds. The participants complained about how this is detrimental to promoting interaction and other alternative life opportunities through sporting activities. One of the participants outlined the disappointment of the failure in the development of playgrounds saying;
“That is why we have no athletes on the come up anymore. I feel sorry for some of these young ones.” (Participant no 24, November 2017).
More so, poor housing infrastructure was also identified as one of the key factors discouraging place attachment amongst young people. This is because housing is an essential commodity in the lifestyle of any person. Thus, having a lot of houses that are deteriorating is discouraging and disheartening as participants felt that it diminishes one’s interest to stay in the community. One RDP homeowner said,
“The housing quality varies, there are some that have toilets inside them, and there are some that are really bad, in my area, there are probably one or two that really have to be taken down and rebuilt. They are in bad shape”. (Participant no 12, December, 2017).
However, eight others were more sincere in regards to their perception of infrastructure degradation and houses. One stated,
“Some houses are really bad; they are falling apart, in general, though this is a low-income area, so the houses are probably poverty level”. (Participant no 29, January, 2017).
Another male participant further complained about how deterioration affects his own home. He said;
“Abandoned houses make your own house look terrible, some of them need to be taken down: it does not help this area; it keeps people from moving here, this is why you do not get good people moving into the community anymore”. (Participant no 13, November, 2017).
A more annoyed response from a female participant related the infrastructure degradation to other social problems:
“There are a lot of neglected properties in Umlazi Township which become a refuge for drug and illegal activities and only God the Almighty knows exactly what happens in there”. (Participant no 21, November, 2017).
Overall the majority of the participants pointed to infrastructure degradation and houses. This reflects on some of the key factors that encourage one’s feeling of attachment to a community.
However, it is also essential to outline that despite the deterioration to the housing infrastructure, some of the participants indicated that the community has much value for them since it connects them with many memories of their life. The majority of the participants indicated that they have mixed feeling, though they were not happy with the deteriorating infrastructure, they could not help it but acknowledge the sense of community they have in their neighbourhood. One participant strongly affirmed that people in the community care for each other and seek to seek their challenges being addressed together as a community.
5.6 Declining property.
Adding to participants mixed and also general displeasure to their physical environment, eleven participants talked about the concerns they have for their property. The participants were from the affluent and high-income areas of Umlazi Township. The property, for some of the participants, restricted them from leaving Umlazi Township. Homeownership, quality and satisfaction have a great impact on one’s relations with the place as noted by (Lalli, 1992: 290). A woman said,
“My house is what mostly keeps my family and me here, these new RDP houses decrease our property value, and it becomes hard to put your house on the market.” (Participant no 14, December, 2017).
Another male participant said,
“We could not sell this place if you had to because of the informal settlements that have sprung up during these past few years. This also affects the market price of the property if we want to sell it. I think if I could get out of this place there would be a chance one would move”. (Participant no 10, November, 2017).
Another participant added,
“If I had thought that it would be going to be this way there was no way I would have invested so much in my house. If my family was not here, I doubt if we would still be here”. (Participant no 26, January, 2017).
For those who own property in the community, the common decline of property value is of deep worry and concern. This could be one of the factors keeping some from moving out of Umlazi Township and to new places.
5.7 Local activities and places to gather.
Most interviews also pointed towards a level of pleasure or fulfilment for the recently opened shopping centre that opened a few months back in December at V section. Further participants were able to talk about several places they visit regularly. These included Eyadini and Max lifestyle Shisayama, the library at W section, fast food restaurants, taverns, banks, and the local post office at V section, churches and sporting events. One participant said,
“They are very happy that Eyadini’s location is close to where they live I leave my car at my place or at a friend’s house, and then I take a walk to Eyadini, to enjoy with the guys and reminisce and catch up”. (Participant no 5, November, 2017).
Another participant, a low-income single parent, spoke about how she was happy that the library is in her vicinity;
“We go to the library regularly; we used to go twice a week because that was the biggest thing for my daughter we like to read a lot. We love to read and use free municipal Wi-Fi; I have a twitter account too”. (Participant no 4, December, 2017).
It was also interesting to hear one participant speaking with joy about how local businesses around Umlazi Township such as shisanyama’s and taverns are important, the male participants became thrilled and described two local shisanyama’s, Kwam-Gaga and Busy Corner Tavern, where he and his friends went on Saturdays to watch soccer. Relph, cited by Seamon et al., (2008: 3), suggests places provide identity-based on their uniqueness in regards to physical setting, activities, situations and events and the meaning created through these experiences. He shared stories, described how their meat is different than other establishments, and he seemed to enjoy it there whenever he and his friends are there. For another participant, the Umlazi River which divides Umlazi Township and Chatsworth is a favourite location for people that like to go fishing as the river has an abundance of fish. He spoke with much enthusiasm about its beauty and the time he spends there. Umlazi township is not without favourite’s places to gather for every individual’s liking.
5.8 Integrated accessibility and navigation.
The more noteworthy was the positivity of participants in regards to Umlazi township design and the ability to navigate the streets and complete responsibilities just by taking a local taxi. The majority of participants in the study appreciated the easy access they had on local malls, stores, post office, banks and churches. Satisfaction with community services (government services such as emergency services; business services such as shopping centres; and non-profit services such as religious services) is also related to community attachment, studies have noted (Allen, 1991; Grzeskowiak et al., 2003; Marans and Rodgers, 1975; Perez et al., 2001; Potter and Cantarero, 2006; Rojek et al., 1975; Sirgy and Cornwell, 2002; Uzzell et al., 2002; Wasserman, 1982). One of the participants outlined on the accessibility of transport within the community,
“I take a taxi that takes me everywhere locally, to the Prince Mshiyeni Hospital, the post office and church and on weekends in the afternoon we go to the nearest shisanyama, tomorrow I have a meeting with an old friend at Max Life Style.” (Participant no10, November, 2017).
Another also stated,
“What I like the most is the convenience; when I want something I go to a local store which is a walkable distance to the Mall, I do not have to stress about going with the car or traffic, if you had to walk you could, you could survive just by walking the way it so close. I like the convenience of living in this area.” (Participant no 12, December, 2017).
It is clear that the road networks and the availability of transportation in Umlazi provide an enticing environment that most people desire. Considering that there are some places which have limited access to taxis around the country, one would feel secure and motivated to stay in a community with good transport networks. It provides the ability to walk and get to places easily, one participant especially really loved the design of the main road of Mangosuthu High way which is linked with side roads leading to different parts of Umlazi for easy navigation it’s even easy for people that don’t live in Umlazi Township. Thus the participant outlines that,
“One thing which makes it good to live here is how easy it is to find an address in Umlazi than Isiphingo which is too divided and spread out; it is easy to find an address here”. (Participant no 19, December, 2017).
One female participant overwhelmingly explained that,
“my house and my location satisfy all my needs and wants for example like going to attend a congregation in my church, it’s close to the doctor, close to schools where children attend, close to the shisanyama and sports grounds: it made it practical for my two sons and extended family, so it also made it more possible to me, we are all happy, this, I am more independent at the same time”. (Participant no 22, December, 2017).
Having the means to complete daily errands, by taking a local taxi, or by walking makes a huge difference for the majority of the participants that were interviewed. Therefore, most of the participants found the community highly accessible and easy to navigate than most communities.
In addition to being self-sufficient, some participants interviewed talked about how they enjoy the natural beauty that’s in and surrounds Umlazi Township. Five participants mentioned in detail their appreciation for the HIV/AIDS Welcoming path and struggle leader monument next to the Mangosuthu Highway just as you are about to enter Umlazi Township. Some also spoke about the diversity of flora occurring in this particular area; one woman went as far as say,
“I like the change of seasons, it is beautiful, I remember when the old airport was this side, I remember flying into Umlazi in summer it is very beautiful from a bird’s eye view in the sky”. (Participant no 4, November, 2017).
Umlazi Township provides a setting that defines the township and offers natural beauty.
5.10 Sense of rootedness and familiarity.
Lastly, most participants at one point or another talked about their sense of being at home where they lived and feeling comfortable in their environment. Hauge, (2007) argues that home and dwelling are essential things endeared to most people’s lives, and as a result, these play a significant role in influencing identity, that is how one identifies themselves. Whereas most talked about the ties to family, friends and church, others value the recognition they feel about the place they reside. One participant feels personal and deep profound connections to the township;
“You love and cherish your home no matter where you live, you contribute and invest in your township and remain in your township, it is home, and it is your family and friends”. (Participant no 20, November, 2017).
Another participant, also, commented on the understanding of remaining in a particular place;
“It is something that you are used to as a person, sort of like your old clothes, they are old, but you like them just the way they are”. (Participant no 17, December, 2017).
For others, it was feeling you belong and incapable of thinking of relocating. One participant, also, stated that,
“It is my home, yea this is my home, it is nothing out of the ordinary, but it’s what I call home”.
Another participant added, (Participant no 22, December, 2017).
“We just don’t know where we would go; I guess this has been a routine for many residents for years, I think it is a good area to be in”. (Participant no 3, November, 2017).
Proximity maintenance, which is the wish by one to remain close to the place one they might have grown up in or stayed for a long-time, hence the sense of attachment. Proximity maintenance is thus a central aspect in regards to place attachment (Turton, 2016), a disturbance of such proximity will most likely have detrimental effects on the persons affected, mostly psychologically.
As participants discussed their comfort, familiarity and sense of rootedness several participants talked about their perceptions of how Umlazi Township gets a hold of people. Gifford (2014) articulates that place attachment also provides physical and psychological comfort, thereby those attached to their environment, in turn, feel comfortable in their environment. One individual said;
“There is some sort of draw about Umlazi township, people that have grown up here and lived here when they have relocated some place for new opportunities that arise out of Kwa-Zulu Natal, they talk about missing Umlazi and how it’s made them better people in so many ways, even when people that complain about this, that and the other. It really gets a hold of you.” (Participant no 10, November, 2017).
While each participant in the study has lived in Umlazi for at least five to ten years, which undoubtedly points to strong social or family ties in the area, it was interesting to hear comments such as this multiple times as if moving on to somewhere new was not a viable option. Further, as comments were offered in regards to feeling at home in Umlazi Township, an overall theme emerged shedding light on common narrative. While experiencing the tremendous lack of economic activity in the early 90’s (nineties) and early 2000’s (two thousand) and while experiencing hardships, problems and general decline, Scannell and Gifford (2014), describe a concept termed as “place bondage”, this refers to a situation whereby one continues to hold on to places that inflict harm or fail to meet a variety of their needs. However, there continues to be an attachment of residents to their homes, their community and the community of Umlazi Township. Most of these graduates love their township and can still imagine better days ahead.
To conclude this chapter, an Interview schedule was administered to the thirty participants of the study. The data was from the interview schedule was transcribed physically and was interpreted by major themes and direct quotes. This interview schedule had three distinctive categories. The first category being the general history in the area, the second category is practical connections, to uncover participant’s attachment and experience, followed thirdly by a personal connection to the area. These above findings of this chapter were transcribed with the purpose of verifying, how notions of place attachment are (is) able to shape one’s identity in Umlazi Township.
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION
In this chapter, a summary of the main findings of the research study will be presented. The findings from both the literature review and the empirical exploration on the notions of place and identity formation amongst recent graduates in Umlazi Township will be presented by comparing the findings both from the literature review and empirical exploration. The recommendations and way forward will serve as guidelines.
6.1 Summary of main Findings
Understanding the perceptions and experiences of research participants through the lens of the current literature sheds new light on place attachment and identity in Umlazi Township. The literature pointed to the importance of place as a factor in identity formation based on the personal feelings that develop from everyday life experiences such as belonging and familiarity. The mixed feelings and experiences among recent graduates in the current research study make for a complex analysis of place and identity formation in Umlazi Township.
6.2 Rootedness, Home and Attachment
Firstly the current study revealed a strong sense of place attachment among recent graduates based on township traditions, economic and social systems (family, friends and church) and a general sense of familiarity. While each graduate has lived in Umlazi for the past five to ten years, several participants are new to their community. The majority of the graduates interviewed described feeling at home in Umlazi township despite their frustrations. Comments ranged from acknowledging it as home. One of the biggest sentiments that all the graduates shared was how their attachment to the community could never be detached from the comfort and feeling of home they have.
According to Hauge (2007), as these attachments to place develop, persons, begin to identify with the places they inhabit and form their self-concepts in light of them. Since most of the recent graduates in the current research study feel attached to Umlazi Township and have witnessed the olden days which was characterised by very little economic activity which resulted in the loss of sense of belonging expressed in regards to economic and social decline are significant and valid. According to the literature, place attachments is at risk in Umlazi as the township faces, declining property, infrastructure degradation, drug activity, grand theft auto, vandalism and troublesome youth behaviour.
6.3 Identity and Self-esteem
Place identity formation theory acknowledges principles of continuity, distinctiveness, self-efficacy and self-esteem in developing attachments to place (Breakwell, 1986). While these factors generate greater place attachment, attachment reinforces each of the factors. Analysing participant responses in light of these factors of identity formation revealed the difficulty of developing strong attachments to the current conditions of Umlazi even though feelings towards the township were generally positive. First, while the majority of responses were very positive in regards to Umlazi Township, other was rather depressing. Breakwell’s (1986) model recognises “continuity” which refers to the consistency between an image of a particular place and one’s self-image as a factor in strong place attachments.
For those who focused on negative aspects of the township, consistency evidence did not emerge during the interviews. In other words, the resident’s attachment is tied to the consistency they sense between their image of self and the image of their community. The second factor in Breakwell’s (1986) model recognises self-esteem, the feeling of personal worth, for the development of strong place attachments which is linked to greater attachment. Further self-efficacy or the capabilities to achieve one’s goals is maintained when the environment can facilitate individuals’ everyday routine and activities. Unlike continuity the majority participants in the research study commented on the easy access they had by taking a local taxi on local stores, the post office, banks and churches in Umlazi township and their ability to walk to each location if necessary.
One female graduate even talked about her own self-sufficiency based on her location and the ability she has to accomplish daily tasks. Surely this sense of self-esteem and self-efficacy contributes to a greater level of place attachment. While participants feel able to manage township life, there is a sense of disconnect between one’s self-image and the social image they ascribed to their surroundings. This inconsistency places Umlazi Township at risk regarding place attachments.
Finally, two participants spoke about pleasure in regards to shisanyama’s and others believed the local shisanyama provides distinctiveness for the community of Umlazi Township. Based on the experiences of the researcher, who has lived in Umlazi Township for twenty-seven years, there is no doubt that shisanyama’s are central to the identity of Umlazi Township, particularly Eyadini and Max Lifestyle.
6.4 Crime and Social ills
Problems such as drug use, auto theft, vandalism and troublesome behaviour were talked about by the majority of the participants in the current study and surely affect individual’s abilities to form strong attachments and a positive self-concept in light of their surroundings. According to Prohansky (1973), this loss of social control, among many other aspects of township life, generates psychological consequences such as tension, anxiety, fear, irritability and fatigue which were also apparent among participants. One female participant described her fear in regards to recent community problems. Another participant worries about her children’s safty. However, developing an identity through the process of adaptation, according to Prohansky et al., (1982) will lead to the dismissal of fear and other negative aspects of the environment as individuals embrace only the positive qualities of a particular community.
While most participants in the current study mentioned their fears in regards to drug use, grand theft auto, vandalism and troublesome youth behaviour, some individuals did not acknowledge any fear and spoke very positively in regards to Umlazi township, their community and all aspects of township life. This statement reflects a high level of adaptation about the other interviews.
Aguilar (2002) further revealed a more hopeful insight in regards; his work highlighted the importance of one’s social life rather than the ability to adapt to annoying characteristics. The researcher asserts that one’s sense of community or social networks/systems are the grounds for identification with place. If social life is central to identity, Umlazi Township is well positioned since Ubuntu (humanity), friendliness and sense of community emerged as definite themes in the current study and reflects a strong foundation from which identification and attachment can take hold. Each of the thirty recent graduates talked about the friendliness of neighbours, visiting with friends or feeling like they knew people in Umlazi Township.
The participant’s descriptions of relationships and social networks/systems in the community pointed to rich social life and positive identity. If this is true, building on these social networks to increase identification which contributes to attachment is an appropriate starting place.
6.6 People, Environment and Infrastructure
Prohansky’s et al., (1983) work further suggests that the quality of physical settings can contribute to the quality of the social context. The researcher asserts that a rewarding social context can improve individuals’ perception of their physical setting which is only partially supported by participants in the current study. In describing the current conditions of the township, more positive descriptors were used like, “beautiful” and “love”. These references point to a strong connection between residents perceptions of their physical setting and social life. However, other participants also described infrastructure degradation in Umlazi Township but spoke very positively in regards to their neighbours and social networks which reflect a significant disconnect.
These relationships and perceptions of social life, promote identification which in turn influences one’s degree of attachment. While each participant in the study described some level of Ubuntu (humanity), friendliness and community, some of these descriptions were much fuller and more positive than others. Identification and attachment will be continually strengthened by those able to speak positively about the social environment in Umlazi Township and may be further impaired for those who see the township in a negative light. Hague’s (2009) study suggested that dissatisfied individuals will choose to leave the community since they cannot identify with the stigma it reflects. If leaving is not an option, persons may dissociate from the community.
The evaluations of social environments also have implications for behavioural expectations and the self-concept. According to Prohansky et al., (1983), we not only experience the physical realities of a particular community but the social meanings and beliefs associated with it. Our ability to know a place is shaped by what others tell us, filtered by our socialisation, and shaped by class, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, education, and so on. These experiences exert influence and assimilate norms and values contributing to one’s place-identity and evaluation of self. Since a particular place is often associated with certain social status and lifestyle that maintains residents’ self-esteem, perhaps the more recent decline in Umlazi Township has taken its toll on resident’s self-concept, as a direct result of the changes.
6.7 Place and Behaviour
The different behaviour in Umlazi Township, such as drug usage, grand theft auto and troublesome youth behaviour may be worsened by the physical surroundings and accepted narratives and stereotypes since they provide clues in regards to behavioural expectations and self-image. In other words, individuals act out the expectation placed upon them from both the physical and social environments in which they interact daily. The process of receiving and internalising dominant narratives or stereotypes can also shape one’s self-concept. While the majority of participants in the research study talked about the stereotypes placed upon Umlazi Township as “dangerous, bad place and poor” as individuals and the community internalises these stereotypes, positive identity formation is surely at stake. In addition to the social climate of their community, according to Gifford (1987), residents are further influenced by their physical surroundings like natural beauty and the built environment which impacts emotions and influences behaviour.
These personal responses are attributed to the meaning individuals ascribe to their environments and reflects the narratives and realities of place identity. While some participants in the current research talked about the natural beauty of the welcoming path and struggle leaders’ monument, each also talked about the deteriorating municipal grounds and RDP houses. The narrative behind these structures all recounts the present day. Further, physical settings impose behavioural expectations by providing clues about what is appropriate in particular settings.
Understanding the contexts of Umlazi Township through this lens provides a link between physical surroundings, deviance, adaptation and attachment: Place attachments develop from an ability to adapt in a particular environment; adaptation is positively related to the management of one’s daily routines along with image congruency, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and distinctiveness which are negatively affected by the deviant behaviour. Hauge, (2009) further emphasised the significance of places and physical structures; the study suggests that buildings and the general environment are associated with memories and reflect who we are as a community or neighbourhood. For example, residents of higher-status neighbourhoods are often seen as having more favourable traits. This association would have significant implications for their self-concept and sense of value. In light of this, improving physical structures, such as municipal grounds and houses may improve resident’s perceptions of themselves.
The current theories and research on the topic of place and identity formation provides much insight into the needs and opportunities for the community of Umlazi Township. First, while place attachments seems secure, they are undoubtedly at risk due to individuals? lack of continuity and identification with their surroundings even though self-esteem and self-efficacy are apparent. Secondly, since participants generally did not identify with the image of their community and township, level of attachment and perceptions of the social environment are also at stake and according to the literature may further decline. Thirdly the ability to adapt to a setting tainted by frustrations and problems may be an additional challenge for some participants although others show signs of adaptation and thus greater attachment. Finally, deteriorating infrastructure and stereotypes emerged as a significant issue in Umlazi Township and may contribute to behavioural expectations and individuals self-concept. Each of these factors challenges the social climate and identity of Umlazi Township.
The objectives of this research project as presented in the chapters have been met as they have been projected. The aims of this research study have been identified and related to notions of place and identity formation amongst recent graduates in South Africa a case study of Umlazi Township. In this chapter a summary of the findings of the research project has been given, the findings reflected on the base of knowledge gathered and identified in the literature. The recommendations and way forward will serve as guidelines.
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