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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Innocent violence: social exclusion, identity, and the press in an African democracy
Author:Coplan, David B.ISNI
Periodical:Critical Arts: A Journal of Media Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02560040902738982
Abstract:The violent attacks on African immigrants and refugees in marginal settlements surrounding South Africa's largest cities in May 2008 occasioned a rush of mostly well-intentioned attempts by journalists, public intellectuals, and government officials to discover the causes and find cures for the outbreak. This article interrogates the glosses of 'xenophobia' and 'social deprivation' that were all too quickly applied to explain the attacks in public representations of this sorry episode in South Africa's postapartheid history. The account of the focal events is based on a sifting of press reports, victims', perpetrators', and police testimonies, government and civil society spokespersons' interventions, and field research. Rather than providing a monovocal, hierarchical argument for one or another analysis emerging from the reportage, this article juxtaposes complex and conflicting local accounts, justifications, forces, and circumstances, to provide an intriguing if ultimately - at this early stage - irresolvable image of these tragic events. The implications for South African social identities, institutions, and democratic order, however, are at the end all too clearly illuminated. Bibliogr., ref., sum. [Journal abstract]