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Dogs and the public sphere: The ordering of social space in early nineteenth-century Cape Town

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Chapter Summary

During the 1820s and 1830s, the readers of Cape Town?s South African Commercial Advertiser (SACA) were much discomforted by the packs of stray dogs which infested their city. This chapter concerns about stray dogs in the letters written to the Advertiser as a route towards understanding an emergent bourgeois culture in Cape Town. The concepts of social improvement and political rights articulated by the Advertiser were intimately connected to the control of social space and the material world. The chapter explains that dogs were a lightning rod for a whole series of contemporary concerns in colonial Cape Town. The place of dogs in the assertion of bourgeois values and the control of urban space in Cape Town needs to be understood within an emergent bourgeois emphasis on improvement in political discourse, labour relations and the physical space of the city.

Keywords: bourgeois culture; Cape town; social improvement; South African Commercial Advertiser (SACA); stray dogs



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