Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Contradictions of DemocracyVigilantism and Rights in Post-Apartheid South Africa$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Nicholas Rush Smith

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190847180

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190847180.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 10 May 2021

Rights in Translation

Rights in Translation

Vigilantism and the Meanings of Institutional Effectiveness and Failure

(p.81) Chapter 4 Rights in Translation
Contradictions of Democracy

Nicholas Rush Smith

Oxford University Press

If as is often argued, vigilante violence is caused by failures in policing, why would crowds attack suspects under arrest? To answer this question, this chapter examines a 2006 case in which two suspected rapists were dragged from a police car in KwaMashu and stoned to death. Interviews with residents reveal claims that the state’s procedural protections for suspects perpetuate insecurity, as suspects may be released following arrest and continue preying on residents. That is, even under circumstances when the state performs its duties, like arresting suspected criminals, some residents interpret such institutional effectiveness as potentially leading to state “failure” because the suspects are subject to juridical protections that could allow them to continue committing crimes and perpetuate local insecurity. By recognizing these ambiguous meanings of rights, we can explain vigilantism in cases where state institutions function effectively and account for why citizens would challenge the state’s legal processes through acts of vigilantism.

Keywords:   vigilantism, vigilante violence, institutional failure, institutional effectiveness, rights, KwaMashu

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .