A call for comparative thinking: Crime, citizenship and security in the global South

  • Vanessa Barolsky HSRC
  • Suren Pillay HSRC
Keywords: comparative, crime, violence, violent crime, global south, democracy, intervention


This article argues for the importance of an international comparative perspective in terms of our analysis and response to violent crime. This is particularly important in the light of the fact that while an increasing number of countries in the global Southhave achieved formal democracy, they continue to be plagued by high levels of violent crime. In fact, transitions from authoritarian to democratic governance around the world, from Eastern Europe to Latin America and Africa, have been accompanied by escalating violent crime rates. In this context, we have much to learn from an international comparative approach in terms of understanding why democratic transitions are so often accompanied by increases in violence, what the impact of this violence is on the ability of these societies to deepen democracy, and what the most appropriate interventions are in relatively new and often resource poor democracies.

Author Biographies

Vanessa Barolsky, HSRC
Democracy and Governance
Suren Pillay, HSRC
Democracy and Governance
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