Paper $27.95 ISBN: 9781783602971 Published August 2015 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781783602988 Published August 2015 For sale in North and South America only

South Africa's Insurgent Citizens

On Dissent and the Possibility of Politics

Julian Brown

South Africa's Insurgent Citizens

Julian Brown

Distributed for Zed Books

176 pages | 5 x 9 | © 2015
Paper $27.95 ISBN: 9781783602971 Published August 2015 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781783602988 Published August 2015 For sale in North and South America only
Twenty years after South Africa’s first democratic election, the nation’s politics are more fractious than ever before. The lofty dreams of the early days of the post-apartheid era have dissolved into cynicism in the face of incessant police violence, the quashing of dissent, and the spread of corruption. To many South Africans today, politics is a failed enterprise, the preserve only of the corrupt, the self-interested, the incompetent, and the violent.

With this book, Julian Brown mounts a powerful, polemic argument against that sort of despair. Politics is alive and well in South Africa—if you know where to look. Brown reveals a new kind of politics, in the streets and the courtrooms, a politics created by a new kind of citizen, one that is neither respectful nor passive, but insurgent. South African politics, Brown argues, may be fractured—but it’s in those very cracks that a powerful new movement is beginning to grow.
1. Country of Protest
2. Politics after Apartheid
3. Citizenship and Insurgency
4. From Discipline to Repression
5. Political Ambiguities
6. Making Politics from and in the Courtroom
Conclusion: The Possibilities of Politics
Review Quotes
Justice Edwin Cameron, Constitutional Court of South Africa
“Julian Brown's book offers us a rich and intriguing account of ourselves as a country of protest. His analysis is insightful, and ultimately hopeful—for it is only through principled challenges to the present, on the streets, in the halls of power, and in the courts, that our constitutional ideals of dignity and equality for all can be realised.”

Gillian Hart, author of Rethinking the South African Crisis
South Africa's Insurgent Citizens provides an innovative understanding of rising popular protest in the country today. The book shows how, despite growing repression, activists and communities are finding new ways to exert their rights to protest and political expression.”

Justice Zak Yacoob, former judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa
“A fascinating account of protest based on an unshrinking belief in the importance of an organised, strong, powerful, and vibrant civil society, particularly of poor people. Its controversial thesis is that the early abandonment of protest and settling with the state can retard the strengthening of civil society.”
Sandra Liebenberg, University of Stellenbosch
“Rooted in current South African case studies of community organisation, social protest and public interest litigation, this book makes an invaluable contribution to the literature on democratic politics. Beyond this, it offers a compelling vision of the possibilities of claiming justice from below.”
Noor Nieftagodien, University of the Witwatersrand

“A timely and important analytical contribution to the growing scholarship on contemporary protest politics in South Africa. Brown both challenges existing analytical frameworks and offers innovative ways of thinking about protests.”

“Brown provides a provocative view of South African political society by championing a politics of disruption by, and on behalf of, those left outside the realm of an oligarchic society. . . . This is a well-written, sober analysis bolstered by extensive research that provides a perspective anyone interested in South Africa and its future should read. Highly recommended.”
Foreign Affairs
“Brown’s book features a similar diagnosis of what ails South Africa. Nonetheless, his focus on the growing mass mobilization of citizens through various civic associations, unions, and protest movements leads him to a cautious optimism about the future.”
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