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Mass violence in Durban's settlements in the 1980s.

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The focus of this study is on the occurrence of mass violence in Durban's settlements in the 1980s. Mass violence is defined as the violent reaction of crowds against targets, which may be people and/or objects - for example the stoning of buses or administration buildings, schools, etc. The theoretical framework for the study derives from recent realist philosophy emerging from prominent British social theorists. The method of analysis is based on a framework developed for the analysis of the UK inner city 'riots' of the 1980s. The theory emphasizes the nature of the relationship between the contending groups with particular attention paid to the presence of contingent factors. The analytical method was broadened so as to incorporate rebellion rather than simply 'rioting', as it was developed for in the UK context. Data was gathered in the first instance through an analysis of news reports of 'unrest' for the period 1980-85. Due to restrictions on the press from 1985, the Indicator SA unrest chronologies were used extensively for the period 1985-87. This extensive analysis provides an overview of mass violence, organizational developments, and government response for the period under consideration. Case studies were selected for the more intensive analysis presented in Chapter 4. These are based on published and unpublished reports of 'unrest', interviews, and group discussions. The extensive/intensive dualism of method assisted in giving both an overview of mass violence for the area, and an insight into the particular form it took in specific areas. Finally, the case studies were placed in their regional context, and further reasons sought for the particular nature of 'unrest' in Durban and Natal during the period. The conclusion assesses the explanatory power of the theory and methodology employed in relation to the South African situation.


Thesis (M.A.)-University of Natal, Durban, 1989.


Political violence--Durban Metropolitan Area., Political violence--KwaZulu-Natal., Political violence--Durban--Lamontville., Inanda (KwaZulu-Natal)--Social conditions., Durban Metropolitan Area--Social conditions., Theses--Geography.