Bridgett Sass
Creating systems of symbolic order
UWC students' tactics to stay safe from potential violence


SAVUSA-NiZA Student Publication Series
16,5 x 24 cm
110 pag.
€ 15,00
ISBN 978 90 5170 626 0
NUR 740

How to cope with violence? What are the tactics that people deploy to stay safe in a violent environment and to lead an everyday life under exceptional circumstances?
This book focuses on students at the University of the Western Cape, a former Disadvantaged 'bush' University that is situated on the Cape Flats, an area viewed as potentially violent owing to high crime rates. Students either live in residences on or off-campus, and have to pass through unsafe areas daily, in order to reach the university, go shopping or visit friends.
The author, a former UWC student herself, explores the strategies and tactics used by the students to create a system of ‘symbolic order’ for themselves, a feeling of relative safety in an unsafe environment. Tactics used include such widely diverging strategies as storytelling and gossip, walking purposefully, avoiding unsafe areas and confronting suspicious oncomers. Illustrated with many personal stories, this book leaves the reader admiring the young people at UWC who refuse to give up the idea of a ‘normal life’.