Understanding xenophobic hate crime in South Africa

SOURCE: Journal of Public Affairs
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2020
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.L.Gordon
KEYWORDS: ANTI-IMMIGRANT VIOLENCE, HATE CRIME, RISK BEHAVIOUR, SOCIAL CAPITAL, SOUTH AFRICAN SOCIAL ATTITUDES SURVEY (SASAS), XENOPHOBIA
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 11236

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Abstract

Hundreds of violent incidents of anti-immigrant hate crimes have been recorded in South Africa over the past two decades. Understanding how the public views this issue helps us better understand how it can be resolved. The paper identifies determinants of public attitudes towards anti-xenophobia strategies. Data from the South African Social Attitudes Survey for the period 2015-2018 were used for this study. Using these data, the link between anti-immigrant sentiment and lay attributes of anti-immigrant violence can be mapped. The results show that most citizens externalise the causes of this kind of hate crime and blame the victims (i.e., foreigners) for the conflict. What people believe about the etiology of an intergroup conflict was found to influence their desire for conflict resolution as well as the type of solutions preferred. Victim blaming was found to predict the adoption of prejudicial solutions to anti-immigrant hate crime (such as the mass expulsion of foreign nationals). If an individual attributed the violence to the internal attributes (e.g., emotional factors or beliefs about foreign nationals) of the perpetrators, they were more likely to adopt progressive solutions (such as education and awareness campaigns).