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Doctoral dissertation project of Souad Zeineddine

Supply Chain Management in port cities (working title)

The revamping and upgrading of Durban’s port has been the starting point of my ethnographic research on port-city relations and starting from there I seek to understand the current transformation of global supply chain management (SCM) and logistics and how these are met by South African ports and harbours. My guiding question asks what stands behind the notion ‘seamless experience’? How does SCM facilitate a ‘seamless experience’ and for whom?

Through the lens of the ambitious programme ‘Operation Phakisa – Unlocking Ocean Economy’ I seek to examine the relationality of public (governmental) and private (industrial) SCM within the programme’s aims. Operation Phakisa is based on the concept of the “Big Fast Results Methodology”; a results-driven approach to development that involves the business, labour, academic, and civil society sectors. It attempts to tackle the challenges of public sector supply chain management by distributing and outsourcing not only the various management tasks but also the responsibilities and accountabilities for implementing policies, regulations as well as legislation.  Developing the Nations Ocean Economy entails the transformation of maritime logistics just as much as it entails the transformation of port governance and port infrastructure and SCM in general. Therefore, I focus on the changes within global cargo logistics and how these relate to the local port transformation plans. I analyse how these changes unfold as challenges and hopes for the following enterprises and communities: (i.) a clearing and forwarding company in eThekwini, (ii.) a local community of South eThekwini, (iii.) the City Deep Container Terminal in Johannesburg and (iv.), an online freight company in Cape Town.

In the course of this analysis guided by the questions what stands behind the notion of “seamless experience” I need to pose the following sub-questions:

  1. What are the different modes of SCM? How do governmental and private modes overlap, inform and transform each other? How are public-private partnerships transforming SCM?
  2. What kind of technologies are employed throughout SCM?
  3. How does SCM affect temporality? How does it deal with the different temporalities of production, distribution and consumption? What role does SCM play in the economization of time?
  4. How does SCM affect spatiality? How does SCM differ between port cities and landlocked cities? How are port cities (dis)connected to the so-called hinterlands through SCM?
  5. How is value, wealth and knowledge created and distributed within, through and against SCM?
  6. How is SCM embedded in South Africa’s nation-building agenda?


Short Biography

Souad Zeineddine is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne and a research associate at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WiSER) at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. As part of the a.r.t.e.s. EUmanities global programme, Souad Zeineddine is pursuing her doctorate within the project “Envisioning-Scaling-Infrastructruing: The port of Durban and its city” (Working title). After completing her Master’s degree in Transcultural Studies (University of Bremen), she received a transitional scholarship from the Collaborative Research Initiative, Worlds of Contradiction, at the University of Bremen. Furthermore, she is associated with the WoC network initiative and the Bremen NatureCultures Lab as well as a member of the German Anthropological Association (GAA).

Her academic interests lie in ethnographic theory, de_postcolonial theory, new materialism, queer and feminist Theory, STS Anthropology and (postcolonial and feminist) STS.

Contact: szeinedd(at)uni-koeln.de



Zeineddine, Souad (2019): Reversal of the gaze – Epistemic violence, epistemic reconciliation, response-able knowledge production [Web-Blog] Wie weiter mit Humboldts Erbe? Ethnographische Sammlung neu denken. https://blog.uni-koeln.de/gssc-humboldt/reversal-of-the-gaze/

Zeineddine, Souad (2018): Imagine decolonizing the law – what would happen? [Web-Blog] Wie weiter mit Humboldts Erbe? Ethnographische Sammlung neu denken. https://blog.uni-koeln.de/gssc-humboldt/imagine-decolonizing-the-law-what-would-happen/

Zeineddine, Souad et al. (2018): Das Flurgespräch als ethnographisches Feld. [Web-Blog] What´s in a name? Wofür steht die Umbenennung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde? https://blog.uni-koeln.de/gssc-whatsinaname/2018/07/31/das-flurgespraech-als-ethnographisches-feld/

Klaas, Franziska und Zeineddine, Souad (2018): Differenzmaschine Kapitalismus. [Web-Blog ] https://www.kritisch-lesen.de/rezension/differenzmaschine-kapitalismus

Zeineddine, Souad (2018): Hauptsache Holzzahnbürste. [Web-Blog ] https://www.kritisch-lesen.de/rezension/hauptsache-holzzahnburste


Cover photo by Souad Zeineddine // Portrait photo: Patric Fouad

a.r.t.e.s. EUmanities has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 713600.

Call: H2020-MSCA-COFUND-2015 | Proposal: 713600 – artes EUmanities
CORDIS: http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/203182_de.html