'Pale face'/ 'pointy face': SA criminology in denial
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This paper responds to key aspects of Bill Dixon's article, Understanding 'Pointy Face': What is criminology for? It suggests that criminology should unambiguously be 'for' social justice in South Africa's transhistorically unequal context. South African prison statistics are used as a conceptual shortcut to briefly highlight racialised constructions of crime, the criminal and the criminologist. A trans-disciplinary conceptual approach, as a more socially just way to understand violent crime in South Africa, is proposed. A methodological framework, which draws on the notion of cultural-structural-direct violence and intersectional theory, is presented. These extend Bill Dixon's call for criminology to include history, structure, human psyche and biography5 and resonates with Biko Agozino's call for a 'counter-colonial' criminology. The paper ends by returning the Eurocentric gaze of most South African criminologists, calling them out on their denial about trans-historical violence that implicates 'Pale Face' in the violence of 'Pointy Face'.