Accepted paper:

Measuring violence in South Africa: Gendered based violence as project of governance

Authors:

Linda Musariri Chipatiso (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

Using empirical data obtained through ethnographic methods in a study aimed at examining masculinities and violence in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2017 and my experience working as quantitative data analyst, this paper explores how gender based violence can be viewed as a project of governance.

Paper long abstract:

Using empirical data obtained through ethnographic methods in a study aimed at examining masculinities and violence in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2017 and my personal experience working as quantitative data analyst, this paper explores how gender based violence can be viewed as a project of governance. According to Greenhalgh (2003) such projects constitute establishing the object of governance (the population) problem (such as violence), the solution (behavioural change) and implementing that solution among selected target population (e.g. men). This process has led to the construction of poor black men as the epitome of violence and in need of behavioural change, without necessarily addressing the political economic factors that breed violence. I divert from the common narrative of gender based violence as public health, human rights, development and more recently economic issue. While acknowledging women's increased risk in experiencing violence by men, it is imperative to examine how NGOs are perpetuating the violence narrative for their own interests such as to secure funding. Borrowing from critical global health studies, my aim is to interrogate the (mis)use of statistics in the process evidence making and in the construction of a violent black man. I argue for an ethnographic and people centred approach to enhance the process of evidence making in interventions that aim to address gender based violence.

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