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Considers how people manage and respond to their experiences of past and present violence on the individual level
Covers a diverse group of people in Johannesburg including migrants, refugees, homeless people, sex workers and former soldiers from across the African continent
Adds to the growing literature that critiques overly-medicalized models of trauma and healing
This volume offers radically new ways of thinking about precarious life in the city of Johannesburg. Using case studies as varied as Pentecostal and Zionist churches, brothels, shelters, political movements for change in Zimbabwe, ex-soldiers groups, counseling services and art projects, this volume grapples with the way its predominantly migrant residents navigate the opportunities, challenges, moral orders and relationships in this iconic and complex city.
Taking seriously how context shapes meaning the authors use participatory and ethnographic techniques to understand people’s everyday responses to the violence, insecurity and possibilities for change that they face in contemporary Johannesburg. Read together, the case studies give us new insights into what it means to seek support, to cope and to heal, going beyond what mental health professionals traditionally consider support mechanisms or interventions for those in distress. They develop a notion of healing that sees it as a process and an outcome that is rooted in the world-view of those who live in the city.
Throughout the chapters in this book is a sense of everyday insecurity alongside an equally strong sense of optimism, care and a striving for change. It is perhaps not surprising, then, that this book deals very centrally with themes of the struggle for progress, mobility (geographic, material and spiritual), and the sense of possibility and change associated with the City of Gold. Ultimately, the volume demonstrates that coping and healing are both a collective and individual achievement, as well as a economic, psychological, spiritual and material phenomenon shaped by context.
Content Level »Research
Keywords »Domestive Violence in South Africa - Sex work in South Africa - Zimbabwe refugees in South Africa - child refugees in South Africa - coping and healing from everyday violence - gender equality in Johannesburg - people's response to everyday violence - post-apartheid South Africa - psychological responses to stress - transition to democracy in South Africa