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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Community Policing and Disputed Norms for Local Social Control in Post-Apartheid Johannesburg
Author:Bénit-Gbaffou, ClaireISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
vigilante groups
Urbanization and Migration
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03057070701832908
Abstract:Ryan Carrier (1999), reflecting on policing in South Africa, has pointed out that there may be different types of order that are not necessarily mutually exclusive: the type of order that the State seeks to guarantee may be different from the type of order that businesses, affluent suburbs, townships and corporations wish to establish. He concludes that different types of order may call for different types of policing. Whilst this idea seems interesting regarding the way communities can gain control over their direct environment, it is also challenging when thinking of equality in the access to security - especially in South Africa, where the idea of 'separate but equal' development has sinister overtones. In the current context of development of community policing principles, the line between what communities are entitled to do and what they should leave to the police is blurred, particularly so when norms regarding social order vary in space and time. Security norms to be implemented at the neighbourhood level have to be negotiated between communities and public authorities, and within communities themselves. This article, based on field study in suburbs and townships in postapartheid Johannesburg, argues that there are different 'cultures' of policing and different conceptions of local social order embedded in different local histories and contrasting socioeconomic settings. The South African State is currently attempting to homogenize security practices and to 'educate' people in a democratic policing culture. At the same time it is also firmly setting some limits (for instance by rejecting road closures and vigilantism) to the local security experiments. However, its current policy is based on the broad encouragement of community participation in the production of security, as well as on the promotion of zero-tolerance principles. These policies actually serve to exacerbate local differentiation regarding the content and practice of policing as well as the undemocratic principles rhetorically resisted by the State. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]