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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Discourses of Violence: Coping with Violence on the Cape Flats
Author:Jensen, SteffenISNI
Periodical:Social Dynamics
Geographic term:South Africa
Ethnic and Race Relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Law, Human Rights and Violence
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02533959908458676
Abstract:In the years following the first free elections, crime and violence have taken centre stage in public debate in South Africa. Most accounts are limited to the quantification of violence, while little attention is given to how people live with violence. In this paper the author, who has done fieldwork in Bonteheuwel, a coloured township area on the Cape Flats in Cape Town, first considers both the context in which the violence takes place, and the extent of it. Then he looks at strategies of coping with violence, arguing that most people share a set of strategies to cope with the fear of violence. The strategies that enable people to survive include the will to ordering violence, the use of secret and dangerous knowledge, and the isolation of violence in one locus of evil. The paper shows that people act every day at grassroots level to feel safe. This happens through discursively informed practices or coping mechanisms where violence is categorized and diagnosed, and where dangerous people and places are defined. Bibliogr., notes.