Other Voices, v.2, n.3 (January 2005)
Copyright © 2005, Other Voices/Jean Comaroff, all rights reserved.
This lecture explores the central place of crime in the popular imaginings, and practical lives, of South Africans after apartheid. While acknowledging that there is a significant material reality to such trauma, the paper suggests that much more is at stake: that crime and policing are key domains in which order, citizenship, race and the state are deliberated in the wake of liberation and liberalization. Above all, crime and policing are a sphere of melodrama in which state and nation construct each other—the state to assert its presence and authority upon a populace increasingly skeptical of its capacity to serve and protect. The discussion explores various forms of state theater and ritual, challenging Foucault's notion that modern power represents a move from theatrics to routine.
Resource: Criminal Obsessions
The above audio stream requires RealPlayer. If you do not have the RealPlayer installed, you can download it for free from Real.com
Jean Comaroff (Ph.D., London School of Economics, 1974) is the Bernard E. & Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology and of Social Sciences at the University of Chicago. As part of the Clinical Scholars Program, she has conducted fieldwork in southern Africa and Great Britain. Her interests included colonialism, modernity, ritual, power, and consciousness—more specifically, the religion of the Southern Tswana peoples (past and present), colonialism and Christian evangelism and liberation struggles in southern Africa, healing and bodily practice, and the making of local worlds in the wake of global "modernity" and commodification. Her current research concerns problems of public order, state sovereignty and policing in postcolonial contexts, and the challenging relation of legitimacy to force.