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Securitisation from Below: The Relationship between immigration and foreign policy in South Africa's Approach to the Zimbabwe Crisis

Hammerstad, Anne (2012) Securitisation from Below: The Relationship between immigration and foreign policy in South Africa's Approach to the Zimbabwe Crisis. Conflict, Security and Development, 12 (1). pp. 1-30. ISSN 1467-8802. (doi:10.1080/14678802.2012.667659)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14678802.2012.667659

Abstract

The political and economic debacle in Zimbabwe has led to a large-scale influx of Zimbabweans into neighbouring South Africa. This article argues that there is a complex and significant link between the domestic response to this immigration influx and South Africa’s foreign policy towards Zimbabwe. South Africa’s foreign and security policy elite preferred to use an immigration approach of benign neglect as a tool to promote its ‘quiet diplomacy’ approach towards the Zimbabwean regime, treating the influx as a ‘non-problem’. But increased xenophobic violence, vigilantism and protests in townships and informal settlements against Zimbabwean and other African immigrants, culminating in widespread riots across the country in 2008, contributed to a change not only in immigration policy but also in the mediation efforts towards the Zimbabwean parties. I argue that this foreign policy change was pushed by a process of ‘securitisation from below’, where the understanding of Zimbabwean immigrants as a security threat were promoted not by traditional security elites but by South Africa’s marginalised urban poor.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/14678802.2012.667659
Projects: [UNSPECIFIED] The securitisation of forced migration
Uncontrolled keywords: Securitisation, migration, South Africa, Zimbabwe
Subjects: J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: A. Hammerstad
Date Deposited: 13 Dec 2012 17:24 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 09:53 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/32797 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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