skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 77790 Find in a Library
Title: Meaning of Criminality in South Africa
Journal: International Journal of the Sociology of Law  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:(May 1981)  Pages:123-155
Author(s): A T Turk
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 33
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The South African case shows how colonialism and racism have exacerbated the difficult issues of defining criminality in the context of struggles over how social conditions are to be sustained and improved.
Abstract: The theoretical postulate is that changes in the legal control policies of any political organization reflect the political concerns of the dominant more than a concern with effective crime control. The specific proposition can be shown through a look at South Africa's political and criminal history from the Dutch foundation (1652-1795) to British imperial rule (1795-1910), the uniting of South Africa from 1910 to 1948, and white rule since 1948. That proposition is that colonialism and racism interject misleading and self-defeating factors into the process of sociolegal development, so that a viable legal order is precluded without radical political restructuring. The sometimes drastic fluctuations in the measures of legal control and criminalization, contrasted to the generally more gradual changes in crime rates, the major concern with political criminalization, and recurring serious challenges to authority demonstrate that control by the South African authorities is far from being established even after 3 decades of determined efforts. The South African legal control system appears to work against itself, generating instead of controlling crime and political instability. Crime statistics and about 50 references are provided. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Crime Causes; Crime Statistics; Political influences; Racial discrimination; Social conditions; South Africa
Note: Prepared for the Conference on Crime and Crime Control in Developing Countries, University of Ibadan, Nigeria, July 9-12, 1980.
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.