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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Entanglements of private security and community policing in South Africa and Swaziland
Authors:Diphoorn, TessaISNI
Kyed, Helene MariaISNI
Periodical:African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society (ISSN 1468-2621)
Geographic terms:South Africa
Swaziland - Eswatini
Subjects:private security services
vigilante groups
urban areas
External link:http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/115/461/710.abstract
Abstract:Security in Africa is seldom a public good provided by the state, but is frequently something you pay for or acquire by turning to various non-state or community actors. The privatization of security in African cities is reflected in the rapid growth of the private security industry, which is matched by the widespread involvement of civilian actors in neighbourhood watches and self-organized policing groups. Much of the scholarly debate on 'plural policing' and 'security assemblages' has focused on what the privatization of security means for the state, highlighting how the public-private divide is increasingly blurred as state police services interact with either private or community security actors. This article adds a novel perspective by exploring the entanglements between private security companies and civilian community policing groups in urban areas of South Africa and Swaziland. Based on ethnographic fieldwork, the article shows how these actors engage with each other in different, often informal, ways and across socio-spatial boundaries. The result is the simultaneous communalization of private security and privatization of community policing. However, these are not straightforward processes. Sets of actors slip in and out of commercial and community logics of security, but also frequently articulate their distinctions as part of positioning themselves in a competitive security landscape, thereby raising questions about the objectives and motivations that drive many security performances. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]