Local Order and Democracy in a South African Squatter Camp

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Title: Local Order and Democracy in a South African Squatter Camp
Author: Koski, Sinikka
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political Science
Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Yleisen valtio-opin laitos
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för allmän statslära
Date: 2000-04-19
Language: en
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/12919
Thesis level: master's thesis
Abstract: The study consists of a case study in squatter camp communities in Cato Manor, Durban, South Africa, in the context of democratization. The case study was conducted through participant observation and twelve in-depth interviews among the local leadership in May - August 1998. The interviewees were chosen to represent the community opinions on the basis of brief pilot interviews. The aim was to gather first- hand, detailed information on the political attitudes, opinions, culture, behaviour, and local order in previously disenfranchised, but still economically and socially marginalized communities. The research examined the impact of legitimacy in a democratic consolidation process. The theoretical framework was the recent democratization theories of transitiology and consolidology. The main concept was legitimacy, which was analyzed through three clusters: types of political participation, local and regional security order, and the redefined role of the African state. Each cluster contains elements of the legitimization from above and from below. The results of the field research conclude that the culture of resistance and undemocratic, violent modes of participation are still part of the political culture in socio-economically deprived communities in South Africa. Democratic ways to participate are practiced, but the potential for violence, revenge, and distrust towards authorities dominate the patterns of participation. Democracy is closely linked to the socio-economic rights, but more importantly to human dignity and other non-material values. Community democracy was strong and communities had their own dispute mechanism and marshal system. Violence was perceived as a threat to personal security only in its most extreme forms, while everyday crime and instability were mostly tolerated, rejected, or denied. The national government enjoyed high levels of legitimacy and was uncriticized. The local authorities had low levels of legitimacy. Horizontal legitimacy was high among the residents and towards the new invaders, even though invasions often stopped the development plans in the area. Based on the case study was created a new concept, participation through community leaders and gatekeepers. This concept describes the political participation of the people at the grass-roots level, where the local leadership provides information, interpretations, and political strategies for a group of people. Also a continuum was defined for different types of participation, where one pole covers undemocratic, violent, and delegitimizating political participation, another pole democratic, peaceful, and legitimizing political participation.
Description: Endast sammandrag. Inbundna avhandlingar kan sökas i Helka-databasen (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Elektroniska kopior av avhandlingar finns antingen öppet på nätet eller endast tillgängliga i bibliotekets avhandlingsterminaler.Only abstract. Paper copies of master’s theses are listed in the Helka database (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Electronic copies of master’s theses are either available as open access or only on thesis terminals in the Helsinki University Library.Vain tiivistelmä. Sidottujen gradujen saatavuuden voit tarkistaa Helka-tietokannasta (http://www.helsinki.fi/helka). Digitaaliset gradut voivat olla luettavissa avoimesti verkossa tai rajoitetusti kirjaston opinnäytekioskeilla.
Subject: democratization
political culture
South Africa
poliittinen kulttuuri

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