GANGS Seminar

In the Presence of Crisis: Death and Survival in Cape Town

Steffen Jensen
, -

Room P1-847, Maison de la paix, Geneva

"In the Presence of Crisis: Death and Survival in Capte Town" is part of the Gangs Gangsters and Ganglands Research Seminar Series. 


In this presentation Dr Jensen will explore how residents in an informal settlement in Cape Town cope with multifaceted and contemporaneous forms of crises, including gang war, political protests, shack fires and xenophobic violence. Theoretically, the presentation contributes to recent debates about critical events and crisis. Empirically, it draws on ethnographic material collected in an informal settlement in Cape Town where the presence of different groups living distinct but entangled lives allows for a critical engagement with the concept of crisis as singular events.

Steffen Jensen is a Professor in Global Refugee Studies at Aalborg University and a Senior Researcher at DIGNITY-Danish Institute Against Torture. He has worked on issues of displacement and human rights, state and non-state violence and corruption and state formation. He has carried out ethnographic fieldwork in South Africa and the Philippines. His publications include Sporadically Radical: Ethnographic explorations of organized violence and militant mobilization (Tusculanum 2018); Histories of Victimhood (University of Pensylvania Press, 2014) and Corruption and Torture: Violent Exchange and the Policing of the Urban Poor (AUP, 2017). At present, he is working with Dennis Rodgers from the Graduate Institute on an ERC project on gangs.