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Twilight Policing

Private Security and Violence in Urban South Africa

Tessa G. Diphoorn (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 304 pages
ISBN: 9780520287341
October 2015
$39.95, £33.00
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South Africa boasts the largest private security sector in the entire world, reflecting deep anxieties about violence, security, and governance. Twilight Policing is an ethnographic study of the daily policing practices of armed response officers—a specific type of private security officer—and their interactions with citizens and the state police in Durban, South Africa. This book shows how their policing practices simultaneously undermine and support the state, resulting in actions that are neither public nor private, but something in between, something “twilight.” Their performances of security are also punitive, disciplinary, and exclusionary, and they work to reinforce post-apartheid racial and economic inequalities. Ultimately, Twilight Policing helps to illuminate how citizens survive volatile conditions and to whom they assign the authority to guide them in the process.
Tessa G. Diphoorn has done extensive research on private security in South Africa, and more recently also in Kenya, Jamaica, and Israel. She is currently Assistant Professor at the Department of Cultural Anthropology at Utrecht University.

"In an age when security is being pluralized and degovernmentalized, and the lines between state and other sovereignties are becoming blurred, Tessa Diphoorn provides the tools for deconstructing contemporary relationships of rule, especially in post-apartheid South Africa. Richly detailed and compelling, Twilight Policing is an important contribution to the ethnography of policing, with a particular focus on the relatively understudied domain of private police. It will be a valuable resource for scholars, teachers, and students of politics, violence, and law enforcement, in a variety of contexts worldwide."—Daniel M. Goldstein, author of Owners of the Sidewalk: Security and Survival in the Informal City

"Twilight Policing draws us into the world of security and reveals the gallery of people populating it. We learn about and appreciate difficult moral dilemmas in the harsh and precarious reality that is contemporary South Africa without losing sight of the greater conceptual and political implications. An impressive feat!"—Steffen Jensen, author of Gangs, Politics, and Dignity in Cape Town

"Twilight Policing is an outstanding book that offers an engagingly written and nuanced analysis of private policing practices in contemporary South Africa. Based on absolutely superb ethnographic research, it is a groundbreaking study that will undoubtedly become the major reference point in the field for a long time to come."—Dennis Rodgers, Professor of Urban Social and Political Research, University of Glasgow

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