chapter  10
41 Pages

Horizons

In this chapter, my focus is on how the horizons of young men influence their positioning and thereby their vulnerabilities to gangs, violence and racism. The way they imagine themselves and what they are steering towards in specific situations influence the positions they claim and get offered by others. The ideas that young men have about themselves and the future are of course closely related to their dispositions, but not entirely determined by them. Positioning is not only guided by someone’s background and other people’s expectations, but also by personal motivations. The horizons of young men are furthermore influenced by the context of their lives, by broader discourses about the changes after apartheid, by what it means to be White, Coloured and Black in contemporary South Africa and by ideas about the problem of crime. By contextualising the horizons of the young men in focus, I try to emphasise that, just like dispositions are not freely chosen by young men, horizons are also influenced by the realities of their lives. My attention to personal motivations nevertheless emphasises young men’s capability to influence their positioning. As the analysis will show, the way young men imagine themselves and their perspectives on their horizons are closely related to where they stand in relation to the changes after apartheid.