Sunday 13th May – Tuesday 15th May 2012
Prague, Czech Republic
Scapegoating the Foreigner: A Girardian View of the Continuing Violence in South Africa
Department of Political and Governmental Studies, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa
Xenophobic violence has been a reality in South Africa since 1994. It reached its zenith in 2008 when the violence against foreigners turned to murder and many returned to their countries of origin. Government with the support of NGOs have attempted to quell the violence and hatred but the social responses have been either short-lived or unsuccessful. While many scholars have attempted to explain the behaviour of perpetrators as a result of socio-economic issues I will offer a different perspective utilising the scapegoat mechanism as postulated by historian and philosopher, Rene Girard. The question asked is whether the foreigners in South Africa will continue to be violently attacked in their communities? The aim of this article is to argue that exclusion and appropriative mimicry is a contributing factor to the xenophobia and the accompanying violence in South Africa. The objectives are to firstly, assert that the scapegoat is central to an increasing cycle of violence, secondly, to determine whether conflict is focused outward away from the community and thirdly, to infer that the victim of the violence is chosen because they are vulnerable and close at hand. The feasible and appropriate technique used will be content analysis; I am using newspapers and websites that detail the xenophobic violence from 2008 to 2011. The conclusions drawn inform that firstly, exclusion and mimicry affect social behaviour and escalate violence. Secondly, that victims are chosen for the attributes they are accused of possessing rather than what is the truth.
Metafictive Geography: Violence and Hope in News Reportage
University of the Philippines Visayas, The Philippines
The sporadic outbursts of the armed struggle in Mindanao have depicted the island as politically troublesome and unsafe to reside and travel. Its protracted conflict between the government and the rebels has remained unsolved, primarily because of failed negotiations, extreme poverty of the people involved, and lack of will power of the authorities to end the conflict. This paper examines the armed conflict in Mindanao from the vantage of metafictive geography. It approaches the Mindanao conflict by taking a narrative slice of the armed clash and analyzing it in terms of how the reportage evokes the narrative space of the conflict through narratisation and structuring of texts. The data consisted of a corpus of news from the PDI (Philippine Daily Inquirer) reported between the 18th of October 2011 when there occurred a clash between the military and MILF forces and the subsequent reportage on government investigations after the incident. The data collection covered the period October 18 to October 30, 2011. The findings are significant in that they reveal why the Mindanao conflict has remained inscrutable up to the present.