Family and Household What does the study of families and households tell us about our global past? In this unit examining West Asia, Europe, and China, families and households become the focus of historians, providing a window into the private experiences in world societies, and how they sometimes become a model for ordering the outside world.
Explaining Endemic Violence in South Africa. Introduction It has been argued that the legacy of apartheid has bequeathed to South Africa a "culture of violence". This has been rooted in the notion that violence in South Africa has become normative rather than deviant and it has come to be regarded as an appropriate means of resolving social, political and even domestic conflict.
This is quite easily visible across the entire political spectrum, where violence has been sanctioned as a means both of maintaining political power, as well as an accepted means of attaining change or resolving conflict. Part of the explanation lies in the fact that the era of negotiations established the terrain for an intensified political contest.
The resultant power struggle, involving all the key political interest groups has, almost inevitably, played itself out through the style of violent confrontation so firmly established in the preceding decades.
The racially-based, hostile stereotypes generated by apartheid, coupled with the resultant political intolerance, have continued to articulate closely with the experiences of economic impoverishment and encroaching poverty for the majority of South Africans.
In the absence of an effective social welfare net and in the context of dramatic levels of unemployment, conditions are created which offer a solid foundation for the social, political and criminal violence which pervades South Africa.
Yet, considering the extent to which bread and butter issues such as housing, jobs, rents, wages and education have become politicised in South Africa, it should come as no surprise that people have developed very high expectations of the process of political change.
The constant stalling of negotiations has created a climate of extreme impatience and frustration which has enhanced the prospect of violence.
Once the collective inhibitions on resorting to violence as a means of resolving conflict have been overcome within this broad political culture, it is inevitable that the resultant violence will begin to spill over into the social and domestic arenas of society - the workplace, the home and in the communities.
The result is that violence begins to intrude into all these dimensions of social life, often manifesting itself through conflict over the most basic resources within impoverished communities.
Individuals, feeling powerless or helpless in the face of dramatic social and economic upheaval, frequently symbolically reassert their power through violence in those dimensions of their lives in which they still feel they hold sway. This results in much aggression which, although social or political at root, is expressed through displaced violence within the family and in the home.
It is not possible in a paper as brief as this, to document, analyse, or even describe the violence in South Africa in all its complexity.
What this brief outline should demonstrate is that the search for mono-causal explanation is fruitless. The convenient terms in which the violence has been labelled, by politicians and the commercial media, often does more to disguise complex causation than it does to explain it.
The violence has been variously labelled as "black on black" violence, ethnic conflict, conflict between hostel dwellers and squatters or township residents, conflict between ANC and IFP supporters, or between the police and township residents.
It has been referred to as violence between the poor and the very poor, conflict generated by government or by a "third force", or it has been described simply as violent crime. None of these descriptions is simply wrong. Yet none, on its own, will properly explain this complex situation. It is only when South Africans accept that we are dealing with a host of overlapping causal factors that we can begin to address the problems constructively.
Even statistical information is an inadequate yardstick of the problem. The notorious lack of reliability and the politically contested nature of most of the statistics which are generated about political and criminal violence, make it difficult to rely on this sort of information.
There has been a prolonged "battle of the statisticians" on this issue, relating not only to political violence, but to crime statistics as well. It is argued here that, at very best, the sort of "body count" statistics generated, if taken together, only give us a limited indication of what is actually going on.
They are generally plagued by the problems of under-reporting or by perceptions of bias by those gathering the data. At worst, it could be argued that the picture which is painted in statistical terms has the ironic effect of numbing us to the human suffering which the statistics ostensibly convey - instead of guiding us in the development of the remedial and preventative steps which need to be taken.
Some Recent Trends in the Violence Despite what has been written above, some trends over the past years remain discernable and are instructive. Amidst the competing claims over who is most responsible and over whose political interests are best served by the violence, certain trends remain clear: In particular, this has meant that old forms of repressive control exercised through the deployment of the security forces have become untenable during this era.
However, the failure - or at least the haphazard nature - of the negotiation process, has meant that alternative forms of consensus-based social regulation have not been effectively forged. The result is a "window period" in our history in which the society is under-regulated by any legitimate source of authority.
This has generated a climate of lawlessness and has facilitated the resort to "legal self-help", thereby contributing to the spiral of revenge, retribution and increased violence. The contention that much of the violence can be explained away in terms of ethnic conflict requires some discussion here.
It would indeed be somewhat surprising if the ethnic orientation of 40 years of apartheid did not, in some way, shape the identities of people living under the system.The last two decades were characterized by severe conflicts in the West Africa subregion.
The era of conflict resolution, management and peace building thus came to define the region. Bridging World History is a multimedia course for secondary school and college teachers that looks at global patterns through time, seeing history as an integrated whole.
Topics are studied in a general chronological order, but each is examined through a thematic lens, showing how people and societies experience both integration and differences.
The transitionary phase in South Africa's history, heralded by the move towards a negotiated settlement, has had the effect of discrediting the traditional apartheid-based mechanisms of authority regulating the society.
This involves not only examining the effect of violence on its victims, but also demands that we give some attention to. Conflict and Violence in Africa: Causes, Sources and Types. AFRICA, The history of Africa since colonisation includes a series of self-interested foreign interventions and ruthless exploitation of African conflicts by the former Soviet Union and the United States, with their respective proxies during the cold war when both superpowers.
Violence and Vulnerability in East Africa before CE: An Agenda for Research David Schoenbrun* difficult to set out the contours of a history of violence in Africa. Readers the ever-present double of “real” violence South Africa has the second largest economy in Africa with a GDP at least ten times the size of any of its immediate neighbours (DTI,) The perspective that South Africa has been pursuing its own economic interests under the cover of Quiet Diplomacy has not been widely publicised for obvious reasons.