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Title:Problematising the Making of Good and Evil: Gangs and PAGAD
Author:Pillay, Suren
Periodical:Critical Arts: A Journal of Media Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
organized crime
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Urbanization and Migration
revival & reform
Abbreviation:PAGAD=People Against Gangsterism and Drugs
Abstract:In late 1995 a movement emerged from the Cape Flats in Cape Town, South Africa, called the People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD). It emerged from neighbourhood watch groups and although it claimed a diverse support base, it had an overwhelmingly Muslim face. The dramatic killing of one of Cape Town's notorious gang leaders by a group of PAGAD supporters immediately catapulted the organization, and the presence of gangs, into the public space. This paper problematizes representations of PAGAD and gangs in the media and academic studies carried out so far, arguing that they are based on assumptions that lead to generic categorizations of these phenomena. The identity of the gangster in Cape Town - as derivative of poverty, as anti-social, as a result of the Group Areas Act, and that of PAGAD - as representative of a homogeneous Islam and as the local incarnation of a global 'Islamic threat', obscures their particularity and specificity. The author argues that a richer grasp of their constitutive dynamics will be obtained if their identities are explored as non-static 'processes'. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]