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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Policing in intimate crowds: moving beyond 'the mob' in South Africa
Author:Cooper-Knock, Sarah Jane
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:popular justice
External link:http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/113/453/563.abstract
Abstract:A growing scholarship on policing and security has produced valuable insights into the workings of private security firms, State police, and citizen-led policing organizations across Africa. In contrast, few have explored 'mob justice', the policing performed by less organized, more transient formations of citizens. In academic and popular accounts, mobs are depicted as anonymous, sovereign entities, acting in a space that the State will not, or cannot, enter. Focusing on the township of KwaMashu in Durban, South Africa, this article challenges this homogeneous depiction. Although anonymous mobs punctuate the township's history, residents often find themselves within 'intimate crowds', navigating the ties that frequently bind them to their suspects, and negotiating a space in which they can act without fear of repercussion, legal or otherwise. The State police often play an important role in shaping the parameters of this policing, even when no case is formally opened. This reappraisal of policing formations consolidates and extends our understanding of statehood, society, and sovereignty in post-apartheid South Africa. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]