Fear, crime, and social cohesion in urban South Africa
“Social cohesion” broadly refers to the factors that hold a society together, including shared values and identity, feelings of belonging, civic participation, and political legitimacy. A body of theory based on the experience of communities in high-income countries suggests that strong social cohesion can act as a protective factor against violence. But despite rapid urbanisation in the Global South, there has been little empirical research to date on social cohesion and its relationship to violence in middle- and low-income countries.
This special edition of South African Crime Quarterly, published in March 2016, explores the role of social cohesion and collective efficacy in addressing violence in cities of South Africa.
Its contents include an editorial and three papers that present findings from two South African projects supported through the Safe and Inclusive Cities program:
- “Making Sense of the Duality of Social Cohesion” (PDF, 50.8KB) by Chandre Gould and Vanessa Barolsky.
- “Is Social Cohesion Relevant to a City in the Global South? A Case Study of Khayelitsha” (PDF, 89.5KB) by Vanessa Barolsky.
- “Pulling Us Apart? The Association between Fear of Crime and Social Cohesion in South Africa” (PDF, 100KB) by Benjamin Roberts and Steven Gordon.
- “Facilitating or Hindering Social Cohesion? The Impact of the CWP in Selected South African Townships” (PDF, 66.7KB) by Malose Langa, Themba Masuku, David Bruce, and Hugo van der Merwe.
Explore the IDRC-supported projects Assessing the impact of state-community collaboration to address urban violence in South Africa and Social cohesion: The missing link in overcoming violence and inequality?
Learn more about IDRC’s research support to make cities safer through the Safe and Inclusive Cities partnership with the UK’s Department for International Development.