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Fractured freedom: State discourses about crime in South Africa, 1976-2004.

Super, Gail
June 4, 2015

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)


AbstractAfricaCourtsPost-Conflict ReconciliationRJ in SchoolsStatutes and Legislation
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