Political violence of the unenfranchised for social or personal liberation

Bawa, Umesh
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The study focused on the perceptions and' experiences of youtlidn relation to patticip~fion in political violence. ;It examined the .relatierrship between exposure to state violence, expo§ure to domestic violence,. ideological support for violence and participation in poMticaLviolence;and explored the extcat to .which 'g~nder, age and socio-econemic status inf1u~nced,paiticip~at1o~ in political violence.' , \\ II The traditiL\nal an~ contextual theories of violence th~tTorward explanations for participa~()n in political. violence lwere reviewed and their merit relative to viqfence participation. critically examined. o , U .!,} _ " . . " Ojl,.i \ \r)' '~;;" , /.) ,. " } A structured self questionnaire was developed after an initial pool of item J pertaining to violence were generated, their psychometric properties.ofmtemal consistency ass(jssedand these clustered into the. various violence; scales. The revised questionnaire was adnlinistered to first entry undergraduate students (n= 1902, N:.:2677) at the Universityofthe Western Cape. The datawas analysed using quantitative methods, such as chi-square analyses, t-tests and cortelation ryatdces. Data that showed a high degree' of self-reported~ untruthfulness was discarded frorii further analysis. The level of statistical Significance was set at p< Oj0001. (I The results reveal that the majority of respondents were victims of state violence. Participation' in political violence is significantly related to exposure to state violence, an '~deological support of violence, as well as to being male and older. Gender and age differences were noted for participation in political violence with older males being politically violent. 1~lere wag, no significant difference for socio-economic status and participation ill political violence. The variable that showed the strongest relationship to participation in political violence was exposure to state violence (r=0,77), followed by ideological supportof violence (r=O,;2). The relationship of participation in political violence to exposure to domestic violence though significant was poor.(r=Oj08). Thus the study found that participation in political violence is mainly a function of exposure to state violence and is context specific. The youth had not learnt to be politically violent by being involved in domestic violence. Contextual theories seemed to offer a better explanation for participation in political violence for youth in South Africa. Future research should focus on the interrelationships between 1~6litica1 violence and interpersonal violence.
A dissertation submitted to the Faculty of Arts, University of the Witwatersrand, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts, Clinical Psychology. Johannesburg 1991.