The popularity of state discourses on anti-immigrant violence in South Africa

SOURCE: The Round Table: Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2019
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Gordon
KEYWORDS: ANTI-IMMIGRANT VIOLENCE, CRIME VICTIMS, XENOPHOBIC VIOLENCE
DEPARTMENT: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10996
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/14779
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11910/14779

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Abstract

Over the last 20 years South Africa has experienced a surge in anti-immigrant violence. For at least the last 10 years, the state-sanctioned interpretation of this violence was as follows: it is 'just crime' and not motivated by any type of xenophobic sentiment. This interpretive scheme has been challenged by commentators of all stripes. This article examines the popularity of the government's interpretation of anti-immigrant violence by looking at nationally representative public opinion data from the 2017 and 2018 rounds of the South African Social Attitudes Survey (N = 5,983). The government's 'just crime' discourse was found to be unpopular and other interpretative schemes were much more prevalent amongst the general population. The article will explore what these interpretations tell us about national myth-making in the country