Xenophobia as a manifestation of hegemonic masculinities in South Africa: a CSSR Seminar with Lauren October

While conducting a study on social cohesion and xenophobia in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa, many of the reasons respondents gave for xenophobic violence seemed to be rooted in ideas of masculinity. In all the research sites there was an overwhelming perception that foreign nationals are taking things that belong to South Africans. However, this perception was dominant among the male population, and xenophobic resentment was mainly aimed towards male foreign nationals. This was especially evident within the Eastern Cape sites, which had predominantly Xhosa communities.  It could therefore be surmised that there was some link between xenophobia and the hegemonic masculinity present in the Eastern Cape. The purpose of my paper is to use ethnographic research in the form of qualitative interviews from Motherwell and Grahamstown in the Eastern Cape to find out how constructions of hegemonic masculinities at the local level can contribute to xenophobic resentment.


The foundation for this research paper is based on a research project by The Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI) of the University of Cape Town (UCT) who partnered with Freedom House USA to conduct a study on social cohesion and xenophobia in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces of South Africa. The fieldwork was conducted in two phases between April 2016 and June 2017. 

Lauren October is a Researcher at the Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI) at the Centre for Social Science Research. She graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with an Honours degree in International Studies and a Masters degree in Political Science. Her recent work has been focused on xenophobia and social cohesion, youth violence, and masculinities.

Wed, 26 Sep 2018 - 12:45

Centre for Social Science Research Seminar Room, 4.29, Leslie Social Science Building

Contact Information: 

Nondumiso Hlwele dumi.hlwele@uct.ac.za