Sunday, 14 August 2011

The Making of the 'Comrades' Movement in Natal, 1985-91

by Ari Sitas, 1992

Sociologists have largely discussed 'comrades' or 'amaqabane' within the parameters of two broad social indicators: black youth unemployment and 'anomic' behaviour. The first indicator, unemployment, has destroyed the life-chances and aspirations of the majority of youths. Studies like those of the Inkatha Institute emphasise how unemployment led to frustration and how that turned into aggression and violence. The second indicator is that of 'normlessness', the breakdown of values, the breakdown of a communal social solidarity and the anti- social actions that follow. The 'normlessness' school is much favoured by sociologists. Elements of a Durkheimean conception of 'anomie' based on the breakdown of social solidarity, norms, and the family are presented as definitive of black youth behaviour. In what follows I will argue against both indicators.

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