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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'There is no difference between citizens and non-citizens anymore': violent xenophobia, citizenship and the politics of belonging in post-apartheid South Africa
Author:Mosselson, AidanISNI
Year:2010
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Volume:36
Issue:3
Pages:641-655
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:xenophobia
immigrants
citizenship
immigration policy
violence
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070.2010.507570
Abstract:The xenophobic violence of May 2008 is symptomatic of the politics of belonging and contestation for citizenship that has taken root in postapartheid South Africa. The violent exclusion of foreigners is one of the central ways in which the new South African political community is being fashioned. This practice has been established first and foremost by the State, through the entrenchment of extra-legal and, in some cases, illegal ways of dealing with foreign nationals. The establishment of an extra-legal order as a way of governing societies is what G. Agamben (2005) terms 'the state of exception'. The state of exception, it is argued, has emerged as the dominant paradigm through which non-nationals are dealt with by the South African State. This practice has been central in defining the South African political community and establishing the grounds for inclusion and exclusion in the nation. It is thus a central mechanism through which the politics of belonging is mediated in postapartheid South Africa. At the same time, because this extra-legal order has established non-nationals as being outside the political community, they have emerged as targets upon which segments of the citizenry are able to act in order to assert their own political rights to belong. The xenophobic attacks are symptomatic of this process and need to be understood as manifestations of the state of exception in South Africa and the type of politics of belonging that this has given rise to. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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