Source: (2010) Dissertation. Doctor of Philosophy. Institute of Law and Society. New York University.

This dissertation asks how South Africa’s transition to democracy affected the governments perceptions and treatment of ‘criminals’, and how crime control concerns have changed or not changed between 1976 until 2004. I trace both continuities and changes, breaking with the conventional concept of ‘post apartheid’ inaugurating a fundamentally new era in respect of penality. I analyze what the state says about crime, linking it to the wider field of crime control, criminal justice practices and the political debates surrounding these. By framing crime policies within a socio economic (or more structural) framework I highlight how crime discourse is reflective of, and transformative of, other spheres. I analyse the ways in which crime policies are based on certain political assumptions, use racial or class categories, and are linked to specific political projects. Two of the themes addressed are the changing relationship between: crime and politics as the ANC progressed from a resistance organisation to the government; and that between crime and race as blacks went from being the oppressed group to being the governing group. I trace the ironies and hypocrisies involved as these relationships changed. I use Foucault’s conceptions of power and governmentality as my analytical framework arguing that the various state policies adopted to deal with crime are technologies used in the exercise of power. Power is relational, not something that can be handed over, and technologies of rule can be used in support of quite different political rationalities, such as apartheid, neoliberalism, neo-conservatism, communitarianism, and developmentalism. Because neo-liberal ideology meshes well with other ideologies it could be melded with apartheid rationalities of rule as well communitarian ones in the ‘new’ SA. I argue that the regimes of apartheid and the ANC democracy have elements in common insofar as crime control is concerned, largely because they both failed to address the structural causes of crime. As a liberation movement the ANC failed to develop any in depth policies on crime and when it became the governing party, faced with the ‘spectacle’ of crime, it hastily cobbled together an eclectic range of policies. (author's abstract)