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Contradictions of DemocracyVigilantism and Rights in Post-Apartheid South Africa$
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Nicholas Rush Smith

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190847180

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190847180.001.0001

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The Racial Geographies of Criminal Panic

The Racial Geographies of Criminal Panic

Protesting Crime in the Suburbs

Chapter:
(p.153) Chapter 7 The Racial Geographies of Criminal Panic
Source:
Contradictions of Democracy
Author(s):

Nicholas Rush Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190847180.003.0008

How are the politics of crime in South Africa’s predominantly white suburbs and predominantly black townships similar or different? Through an analysis of what organizers billed as the largest anti-crime protest in South Africa’s history—a virtually all-white affair at a Pretoria rugby club—the chapter shows similarities between the areas in the claims made about crime, and particularly about how the post-apartheid rights regime enables insecurity. However, the chapter reveals two important differences between the suburbs and townships. First, it shows the more directly racialized language through which fear of crime is expressed in the suburbs. Second, it shows how vigilante violence is differently practiced in the different areas, as it is aimed primarily at “outsiders” in South Africa’s suburbs rather than “insiders” in the country’s townships.

Keywords:   crime, protest, race, racialized language, Pretoria

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