Gang performances, social mobility, and victimization risks on the Cape Flats

Gang performances, social mobility, and victimization risks on the Cape Flats – Events

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Based on her longitudinal ethnographic fieldwork on the Cape Flats, Dr Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard argues that young men’s occasional performance of gang repertoires is crucial if they are to avoid victimization. She has found, however, that
the performance of gang repertoires only has protective effects, when being performed interchangeably with ‘’suburb’’ or ‘’decent’’ interactional styles.

Young men who consistently perform gang repertoires, e.g. by speaking Cape Flats slang, while incorporating ever changing hand-shakes, are at high risk of victimization owing to their own involvement in crime. Comparatively, young men who consistently perform ‘’suburb’’ or ‘’decent’’ cultural repertoires, e.g. by speaking English with a ‘’Model C School accent’’ and greeting with standard hand-shakes, are at high risk of victimization owing to their moral rejection of crime-involved youth. Their inability or unwillingness to perform gang repertoires results in them being perceived as cultural outsiders - sometimes referred to as coconuts or cheeseboys - vulnerable to robberies and assaults. Young men who perform flexible cultural repertoires, by shifting between gang and ‘’suburb’’ or ‘’decent’’ repertoires, experience low victimization due to their adaptation to crime-involved youth.

Dr Rosenkrantz Lindegaard’s research highlights the importance of understanding how the performance of cultural repertoires, including gang repertoires and other repertoires (yet to be identified), influences offending and victimization patterns on the Cape Flats. She proposes paying particularly close attention to the association between social and spatial mobility and the risk for victimization among youth in high-risk settings.

Bibliography

Marie Rosenkrantz Lindegaard is an anthropologist and criminologist, a senior researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR), and an associate professor in sociology at the University of Copenhagen. Her work focuses on the social mechanisms behind violent acts and victimization, cultural explanations for crime, and micro-sociological approaches to violence. She studied behavior in criminal events through ethnographic fieldwork in South Africa, offender interviews, and CCTV camera observations of robberies in the Netherlands.

Venue

Lecture Theatre 3, Level 2
Kramer Law Building
Middle Campus
University of Cape Town

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