Alibis for the State? Producing Knowledge and Reproducing State Borders After the May 2008 'Xenophobic' Attacks in South Africa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper examines the production of knowledge about the causes of the May 2008 attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa, embodied in state actors' recourse to discursive tropes of a 'third force' or mere 'criminality' in explaining the attacks. It explores the way in which this 'knowledge' reproduced statist notions of territory and power in the wake of a cataclysm that destabilised conventional notions of the congruence of nation, state and territory. The paper shows how official explanations of the attacks served both to camouflage the internal borders made visible by localised conflagrations and to reassert the state as the exclusive author of territorial borders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-481
Number of pages27
JournalGeopolitics
Volume17
Issue number3
Early online date17 May 2012
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Political Science and International Relations

Institute themes

  • Governance, Leadership and Trust
  • Migration, Displacement and Belonging
  • Peace and Conflict

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