Waiting in liminal space : migrants' queuing for Home Affairs in South Africa

TitleWaiting in liminal space : migrants' queuing for Home Affairs in South Africa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsR. Sutton, D. Vigneswaran, and H. Wels
Secondary TitleAnthropology Southern Africa
Pagination30 - 37
Date Published2011///
Publication Languageeng
Keywordsmigrants, South Africa, Victor Witter Turner (1920-1983)

Waiting is a common feature of everyday encounters between individuals and organisations. Government officials and private sector workers make us wait for decisions, wait for services and times, simply wait our turn. Yet, little attention has beendevoted to theorising and developing the concept of 'waiting', and it is noticeably absent in the literature on social organisations and organisational behaviour. In this article, we seek to add texture and meaning to the experience of waiting andto explore the unique set of power relations and social processes the phenomenon may entail. More specifically, drawing on the work of Victor Turner, we describe waiting as a liminal experience, as a transitory and transformative space which lies betweenlife stages, statuses and material contexts. We then develop the idea by scrutinising a particular form of encounter between individuals and organisations, that between the foreign migrant and the state bureaucracy in contemporary South Africa.

Citation Key6410