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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Maternal incest as moral panic: envisioning futures without fathers in the South African lowveld
Author:Niehaus, IsakISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:South Africa
single-parent family
social conditions
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070.2010.527640
Abstract:During 2008, rumours about revolting incestuous encounters between sons and their mothers circulated in the Bushbuckridge municipality of the South African lowveld. This article views these rumours as expressing moral panic, paying particular attention to the historical contexts of their emergence and circulation, and to their temporal orientation. The article locates these rumours in the periphery of South Africa's de-industrializing economy, marked by increased unemployment and criminality among men and by a growing prominence of women-headed households. They express a regressive temporalization and pessimistic vision, not of development, progress and civilization, but rather of deterioration and decivilization. Through the alleged act of incest, sons who engage in crime usurp the authority of fathers who once produced value in strategic industries and mines. As such the rumours envision a dystopia marked by the 'death of the father' and chaotic disorder without morality and law. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]