SOUTH AFRICAN CRIMINOLOGY IN DENIAL

This paper responds to key aspects of Bill Dixon’s article ‘Understanding ‘Pointy Face’, what is criminology for? It suggests that criminology should unambiguously be ‘for’ social justice in South Africa’s transhistorically unequal context. SA prison statistics are used as a conceptual shortcut to briefly highlight racialised constructions of crime, the criminal and the criminologist. A trans-disciplinary conceptual approach, as a more appropriate way to understand violent crime in South Africa, is argued for from a black standpoint. A methodological framework, which draws on the notion of cultural-structural-direct violence and intersectional theory, is presented. These extend Bill Dixon’s call for criminology to include history, structure, human psyche and biography and resonate with Biko Agozino’s call for a ‘counter-colonial criminology. The paper ends by returning the Eurocentric gaze of SA criminologists, calling them out on their collective denial about trans-historical violence which implicates ‘Pale Face’ in the violence of ‘Pointy Face’

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