- Protection and conviviality: community policing in Johannesburg
- European Journal of Cultural Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 17 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The study of conviviality explores how everyday interactions and encounters mitigate or ameliorate sociocultural differences. This literature must address the critique that conviviality is a superficial phenomenon, which proves irrelevant in contexts where intergroup differences are deep, complex and punctuated by violent exchanges. This article addresses this criticism by attempting to define the meaning and purpose of convivial exchanges in a context characterized by high levels of violence: policing culture in Johannesburg, South Africa. Using ethnographic methods, the study illustrates how convivial practices often stem from individuals’ sense of insecurity and the search for protection in public settings. The article uses these findings to rethink the extent to which convivial practices might resolve social differences.
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