Scielo RSS <![CDATA[SA Crime Quarterly]]> vol. num. 55 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Making sense of the duality of social cohesion</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>To be a somebody. Probing the roots of community in District Six</b>]]> The term community is a moving target, widely used and often misused in defining a group of people in a particular area or with similar cultural practices. In Cape Town the sense of a loss of community is precisely what residents of an area known as District Six mourn, following their eviction and its destruction in the 1970s in terms of the racial Group Areas Act. What was it they perceived they had? And what did they lose, following their removal to the Cape Flats? In asking these questions it is possible to get a clearer understanding of the way in which multiple perceptions and relationships stitch together a social cohesiveness that undergirds the notion of community. And what happens when it is lost. <![CDATA[<b>Is social cohesion relevant to a city in the global South? A case study of Khayelitsha township</b>]]> The concept of social cohesion is increasingly being utilised in local and international policy discourse and scholarship. The idea of collective efficacy defined as 'social cohesion among neighbours combined with their willingness to intervene on behalf of the common good', has been posited as having an important protective effect against violence. This article investigates the relevance of international framings of social cohesion and collective efficacy, which have largely been conceptualised and tested in the global North, to the conditions of social life and violence prevention in a city in the global South. These circumstances are interrogated through an ethnographic study conducted in Khayelitsha township in the Western Cape, where a major internationally funded and conceptualised violence prevention intervention, Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU), has been implemented. The ethnographic material contests some of the key assumptions in international discourses on social cohesion and the manner in which social cohesion has been interpreted and effected in the violence prevention initiatives of the VPUU. <![CDATA[<b>Pervasive, but not politicised. Everyday violence, local rule and party popularity in a Cape Town township</b>]]> Through examining violence in the township of Imizamo Yethu in Cape Town, we show that leadership in this community is not based on violence, despite its pervasiveness in the settlement. Further, rule by local leaders and the state is often weak, and normally not violently enforced. This account challenges three common views in the literature. The first is that, under conditions of weak rule, violence is primarily about contests over political power. The use of violence by a variety of social actors in Imizamo Yethu, but rarely by political leaders or parties, challenges this assumption. The second is that violence is central to maintaining local rule - but in Imizamo Yethu leaders have seldom used coercion. Lastly, our case illustrates that effective local rule is not necessarily a condition of party identification, which is rooted in larger dynamics of state patronage and race politics that may even weaken local rule. <![CDATA[<b>Facilitating or hindering social cohesion? The impact of the Community Work Programme in selected South African townships</b>]]> This article discusses the contribution of the Community Work Programme (CWP) to social cohesion, a term that is widely used in post-apartheid South Africa.1 The article is based on a study that examined the contribution of the CWP to violence prevention. The study by researchers from the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation was conducted in six communities: Ivory Park, Orange Farm and Kagiso (situated in Gauteng), Bokfontein (North West Province), and Grabouw and Manenberg (Western Cape). Some work undertaken through the CWP, such as programmes against gangsterism, drug abuse and domestic violence, are directly aimed at addressing violence and may not have been possible had the CWP not provided an enabling context for such activities. However, we show in this article that that the impact of the CWP is not always positive and that the CWP may in some cases result in tensions and contradictions that hinder social cohesion and even cause violence. If not implemented in a consultative participatory manner, the CWP may be a source of conflict rather than of social cohesion. It is thus necessary to ensure that the CWP is implemented with integrity if it is to contribute to positive social cohesion and prevent violence. <![CDATA[<b>Pulling us apart? The association between fear of crime and social cohesion in South Africa</b>]]> Fear of crime, like crime itself, is thought to be a factor that constrains efforts by government and non-state actors to promote socially cohesive communities and a caring society. As concerns have mounted over various aspects of the social fabric in South Africa, increasing policy attention has been directed at perceptions of safety and nation-building. In this study, we use nationally representative survey data to examine recent theoretical models on the link between fear of crime and social cohesion within communities. The results do not offer strong support for the hypothesis that higher fear of crime is associated with lower levels of social trust, neighbourhood ties and civic cohesion, although fear does have a moderate, adverse influence on attitudes towards law enforcement. <![CDATA[<b>Comfortably cosmopolitan? How patterns of 'social cohesion' vary with crime and fear</b>]]> Achieving 'social cohesion' across race and class divides in South African settlements is a major challenge, given the divided urban geography of apartheid. Cosmo City, a new mixed-use settlement north-west of Johannesburg, was conceived and designed for social inclusion and cohesion, albeit between people of different income levels rather than race groups. A number of the development's spatial features were also thought likely to reduce crime and fear of crime, either directly or as mediated by stronger social cohesion. A survey was conducted among 400 Cosmo City households to determine the extent of community cohesion, fear of crime, and rates of crime victimisation. Results found a strong sense of localised community pride and belonging within immediate neighbourhoods, and relatively high feelings of safety. However, self-reported crime victimisation rates did not suggest that there had been a crime reduction effect - in fact, they were extremely high. This may be a surprising but not unprecedented outcome of strong social cohesion, which may allow knowledge of crime incidents to spread through community networks as a shared sense of victimisation and thus raise the likelihood of survey reporting above the real rate of crime incidence. Further research should test whether, regardless of any impact on crime itself, greater social cohesion may reduce fear of crime even while raising a perception of crime rates. Policy and design that successfully promote social cohesion but fail to reduce crime may exacerbate a perception of victimisation.