This book examines the politics of crime and the response to it in Potchefstroom, a small settler colonial city in South Africa. It draws on the city’s everyday practices and experiences to offer local bottom-up insights into security beyond the state.
The book provides a comprehensive understanding of security beyond the state and how security workers and residents experience and perceive their own security practices, their daily interactions with other security providers which influences power dynamics between those who express fear through various platforms and those deemed potential criminals. It aids in re-conceptualising violence and security governance in South Africa with a view to analysing the processes of crime prevention and management, the changing nature of public and private spaces and how these spaces interact with state and local authorities. In a rigorous exploration of the ways to tackle the complex problem of crime, the book critiques an overreliance on security infrastructures such as social media, gated barriers, neighbourhood residents’ associations and private security companies. It also looks at how crime is treated as an individual as opposed to a societal problem. The book addresses the urgent need for collaboration across these fault lines to promote a more inclusive security in a broader fragmented social and political context.
With a novel analytical approach based on the twin optics of infrastructure and post-structural hegemony, the book will be relevant to scholars and students of South African politics and critical security studies, as well as international audience interested in crime and private security.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Crime, Security and Politics Part 1: The Reopened Frontier and the Fortified Laager 1. Biopolitics and the Reopened Frontier 2. The Laager as a Collective Security Infrastructure 3. Infamous Spaces and the Constitutive Outside Part 2: The Echo Chamber Effect 4. The Community Policing Forum: The Talk Shop and the Circulator of Ideas 5. Trauma, Debate and the Death Drive: Discursive Entanglements of Crime Reporting in the Potchefstroom Herald 6. Private Security Companies and Securitisation Part 3: Everyday Practices 7. Private Security Operatives: The Typical and the Stereotypical 8. Surveillance in the Suburbs: The Pilot Project in Oewersig 9. The Cachet Park City Improvement District Concluding Analysis: Crime, Radical and Plural Democracy and Strategies of Construction
Gideon van Riet is a senior lecturer in political studies at North-West University in South Africa. His research focusses on security as it pertains to disasters and crime. Gideon’s first monograph, The institutionalisation of disaster risk reduction: South Africa and neoliberal governmentality, was published by Routledge in 2017.