Jean Pierre Misago
(African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand)
Date: Tuesday, 30 June
Time: 12:30 – 13:30
Venue: VCRs, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban
The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.
Xenophobic violence is increasingly becoming a longstanding feature in post-Apartheid South Africa and efforts to explain its underlying and immediate causes have intensified since the unprecedented wave of violence in May 2008. Unfortunately, a critical review of existing explanations reveals that, while valuable in identifying the socio-economic and political context within which violence occurs, they fall short as scientific explanations for the occurrence of the violence.
The review reveals two main weaknesses. First, causal factors provided by most explanations are long-standing and common across most of the country’s towns, townships and informal settlements and, can therefore not explain violence in some and not in others. Second, most of existing explanatory models offer reductionist, one-factor, mono-causal explanations for such a complex social phenomenon and as such can be at best partial or incomplete. To be complete, explanations need to be able to account for all the determinants of the violence and their interdependence, i.e. all the critical elements of the violence causal chain.
Thus far, explanations have missed critical elements in the causal chain including the localised political economy of the violence, mobilisation and local governance.
Jean Pierre Misago is a researcher with the African Centre for Migration and Society at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. With a background in Education Sciences, Psychology, Forced Migration and Humanitarian Assistance, his research interests include: i) the exploration of the effects of migration and displacement on identity and belonging, ii) understanding of xenophobia and violent outsider exclusion, and iii) management of migration and human mobility at local authority level.
The seminar may be attended in Pretoria, Cape Town or Durban
RSVP by 29 June
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