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The stories created by people and goods are real

Jeppe Street may be approached as multiple layers of stories that intersect or remain imperceptible: they are told to people in confidence and kept from others. People create groups, create successes or betray each other. People look out for each other and people intimidate or manipulate each other. In any way, the actions in the area are directly linked to people’s conversations, perceptions, beliefs, wants and needs, as well as the relationships of non-human bodies present in this area. We heard very human stories, because stories, are human, emotional, subjective things. However, although stories are subjective, even fallible, this does not make them less true, or cause them to have less power. An instance where the repercussions of a rumour was clearly felt in this research process, was when a story spread about us which linked our research to a story of a Wallmart conspiracy. Around the time when Wallmart was looking at buying Makro, we were accused of being agents of Wallmart scouting the competition, their businesses, in preparation for a new mega store close to Jeppe Street. This story created a powerful juxtaposition which harmed our research cause. This rumour, for instance, caused one person to pull out of a potential conversation and collaboration, and many other people to remain aloof, become increasingly suspicious, and recede into the background. These bad stories, however, could be countered by a series of good stories and good actions and projects. Although there were some good stories, actions and projects, our engagement in the area was not long enough to really shift the perceptions of the research and produce sustained community interaction.

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