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Acta Academica

On-line version ISSN 2415-0479
Print version ISSN 0587-2405


COLLINS, Anthony  and  PLUG, Simóne. "These violent delights have violent ends": Good subjects of everyday South African violence. Acta acad. (Bloemfontein, Online) [online]. 2020, vol.52, n.2, pp.147-162. ISSN 2415-0479.

While the deaths of Mlungisi Nxumalo and Lucky Sefali barely registered in the media and public consciousness, they can be read as an exemplar of South African violence. The more closely we examine this incident, the more difficult it becomes to distinguish between those fighting for justice, and those undermining it. The imagined boundaries between law-abiding citizen and criminal become unclear, as does the distinction between the use of force to protect citizens, and the use of violence to damage the social fabric. This leads to a critique of the conventional attributions of criminality and ideas about effective criminal justice, and instead reframes the problem of violence as one of the constructions of certain kinds of subjects, persons for whom the normalised exercise of various forms of unrecognised or legitimated violence is part of the texture of everyday life.

Keywords : violence; crime; subjectivity; vigilante; South Africa.

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