Crime, in/security and mob justice : the micropolitics of sovereignty in Cameroon
Institute of Development Policy and Management
Social dynamics : a journal of African studies. - Rondebosch, 1975, currens
, p. 408-428
University of Antwerp
Violent crime poses important challenges for quotidian concerns over security and safety by ordinary citizens in several Africa states. This is especially so in contexts where state security agents are perceived as highly corrupt and/or where African states seem unable to "protect" their citizens from violent crime. The widespread sense of anxiety over various forms of violent crime and state failure to guarantee protection for citizens generates a quest for alternative practices of safety-making that, in turn, evoke serious concerns over state power and sovereignty in Africa. Focusing on mob justice in Cameroon, this article argues that the political contextualisation of sovereignty must pay attention not only to the sovereign's right to kill and let live, but also its responsibility to guarantee safety for those citizens it chooses to let live. The paper demonstrates that in Cameroon mob justice is an insurgent mode of social control or securitisation as well as a contextual expression of contested sovereignty directed at the state's unwillingness or incapacity to contain dangerous forms of violent crime.