Working Paper No.10. The People Behind the Walls: Insecurity, identity and gated communities in Johannesburg.

Abstract

This paper explores perceptions of insecurity and processes of social exclusion across two very different types of location in Johannesburg drawing on two sets of fieldwork. The first was conducted among the multi- racial but still mainly white residents of two gated communities in Johannesburg, one self-contained cluster-home complex in an affluent suburb to the north of the city and another in a lower- middle class suburb to the west. Second, research was conducted among the mainly isiZulu-speaking migrants of a hostel complex in Soweto. The analysis is set against an account of the realities and perceptions of crime and public safety in Johannesburg. It shows how issues of crime, violence and insecurity are invoked to create fortress enclaves, both by the well off and the less well off. The relationship between space and social identity is explored and how both are mediated both by who you are and where you are. This case is made on the grounds that space and the built environment on the one hand, and social relations and institutions on the other are closely bound together. The paper concludes with a comment on what these trends mean for urban governance.

Citation

Beall, J. Working Paper No.10. The People Behind the Walls: Insecurity, identity and gated communities in Johannesburg. (2002) 27 pp.

Working Paper No.10. The People Behind the Walls: Insecurity, identity and gated communities in Johannesburg.

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