Security and Politics in South Africa: The Regional Dimension

By Peter Vale | Go to book overview

7
Primus Inter Pares?

The world will NOT be contained: It will only be loved

—Oskar Wolberheim

Although security and community begin in the past, it is faith in the future that provides both with form and content. This explains why the transaction moment between past and future is the focus of much of the recent writing on memory. 1 This work suggests a far more delicate social ecology than that previously thought possible or, from a practical point of view, necessary. What we remember is not stable but is continuously recast by amnesia or privileging—or both. So despite what we have been taught to believe, we can (and mostly do) remake the past in the present. Recognizing this provides an endless challenge to the world of practical ideas, because in the process of remaking the past, understandings of security and community (to borrow an idea from Pauline Rosenau) have become forms of terror. 2 By critically engaging South Africa's understandings of regional security, this book has aimed to prevent future terror in southern Africa.

The easy isolation of terror as a metaphor so late in this book might well be thought to be misplaced; upon reflection, this is not so. Any close reading of security texts suggests how powerfully the metaphor has conquered particular forms of applied social science (a point, incidentally, that has gone entirely unregistered in the study of southern African security and one to which I have tried to exercise great sensitivity). 3 To touch this issue is to give early notice that this chapter will pay close attention to issues of discourse and speech in the making of security knowledge. We have once again reached a little ahead of ourselves, and we must return to the power of the chapter's second image: terror.

The region's first state, the unequal continuously fingered in this book, once employed state terror equal in magnitude to that practiced by

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Security and Politics in South Africa: The Regional Dimension
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Prologue 1
  • 1 - New Beginning 7
  • 2 - The South African Moment 29
  • 3 - Making South Africa's Security 57
  • 4 - Writing Migration as Neoapartheid 85
  • 5 - Ordering Southern Africa 107
  • 6 - Continuity and Community 135
  • 7 - Primus Inter Pares? 161
  • Afterword 179
  • Notes 191
  • Bibliography 219
  • Index 243
  • About the Book 251
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