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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The dilemma of anti-xenophobia discourse in the aftermath of violence in De Doorns
Authors:Kerr, Philippa
Durrheim, KevinISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:migrant workers
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070.2013.825133
Abstract:In this article the authors examine the rhetoric and functions of anti-xenophobic discourse, in particular as it was deployed in the aftermath of a violent attempt by South Africans to expel the Zimbabwean migrant labouring community from the informal settlements of De Doorns, a grape-farming town in the Western Cape (South Africa). While acknowledging that anti-xenophobia discourse constitutes a well-intentioned attempt to counter anti-foreigner violence, the authors critique it on two counts. In Part I they critique the way that such discourse in the academy presents the 'xenophobic' agents of such violence as morally or psychologically depraved and politically beyond the pale. The authors argue that such representations are unhelpful for understanding what was actually 'going on' in the De Doorns episode. In Part II the authors narrate the events of November 2009 in De Doorns, making use of research conducted by the Forced Migration Studies Program (FMSP), and offering an alternative version of what was going on in the De Doorns violence according to the informal settlement residents the authors interviewed in our own research. In Part III the authors critique the anti-xenophobic discourse that was employed by role players after the De Doorns violence for the way it largely overlooked the problem that farmers' pronouncements of anti-xenophobic morality served simultaneously to defend a system which produced some of the very conditions for this violence to occur in the first place. The authors suggest that FMSP's report elided this dilemma because of its self-professed commitment to an anti-xenophobic position. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]