Social Relationships to the Means and Ends of Protest in South Africa's Ongoing Rebellion of the Poor: The Balfour Insurrections

Peter Alexander, Peter Pfaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Since 2004, South Africa has experienced thousands of local protests, many of them popular insurrections, which, taken together, represent a rebellion of the poor. Lack of service delivery has been the main issue, but protesting communities have also demanded the removal of corrupt officials, re-demarcation of political boundaries and employment. In terms of endurance and geographical spread, the movement is unprecedented. The article presents findings from a case study undertaken in Balfour, a small town outside Johannesburg. It argues for bridging studies of social class and social movements, justifies the concept 'rebellion of the poor' and proposes that the divide between employed workers and 'the poor' is best understood in terms of different relationships to the means and ends of protest.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-221
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Movement Studies
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Balfour
  • Rebellion
  • South Africa
  • poor
  • protest
  • service delivery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science

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