Explanations for Crime
This chapter discusses official explanations for the causes of crime in South Africa and how these have changed over the years. I also track changes in how the ANC explained crime prior to becoming the ruling party. For each period that I describe I set out the main criminological ideas and explain the changes that occurred between and within different periods. Since I am not doing an analysis of the production of criminological ideas, or a sociology of knowledge of the South African criminological field, I do not discuss the rapidly expanding literature by non-state criminologists/sociologists, particularly those who write about what causes the particularly violent nature of crime in South Africa.1 Where I do refer to sources other than state documents, it is to show who the major influences were and to identify the ideas on which state produced texts are based, in order to give a sense of the context within which official ideas have emerged.