Title: Social self-defence: where grievances, opportunities and protests collide

Authors: Marlene Muller; Mandlenkosi Lawrence Mkhize

Addresses: School of Management and Languages, Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus, P.O. Box 294345, Dubai International Academic City, UAE ' Department of Governance and Political Transformation, University of the Free State, South Africa

Abstract: Twenty-one years into democracy has transformed South Africa into a protest nation, mirroring the social self's aspirations for development and equality. The voice of the poor remains marginalised, resulting in weakened democratic institutions that threaten grassroots' quality of life. As a newly created concept, social self-defence materialises when a significant part of a desperate community takes counter measures to secure their socio-economic well-being. Theoretically, this article connects social self-defence with the individual-institutional basis of grassroots' protests, as underpinned by the theories of grievance and political opportunity structure. A qualitative survey investigated the reasoning behind political protests within two diverse South African communities affected by unequal economic growth and violent protests. From the findings, the article concludes that relative deprivation and ineffective participatory democracy re-ignite the social self. By not strengthening democratic mechanisms, social self-defence will continue to challenge ineffective local governments, demanding improved opportunities.

Keywords: social self-defence; SSD; relative deprivation; grievance theory; poverty; participatory democracy; violent protests; social self; South Africa; protest nations; political opportunity structure; poor; grassroot protests; political protest; unequal growth; economic growth; democratic mechanisms; local government.

DOI: 10.1504/WREMSD.2016.079338

World Review of Entrepreneurship, Management and Sustainable Development, 2016 Vol.12 No.4, pp.433 - 456

Accepted: 14 Oct 2015
Published online: 16 Sep 2016 *

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