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The Economic Freedom Fighters and the Dynamics of Insurgent Practice in South Africa

Joseph, Nathanael Grant (2022) The Economic Freedom Fighters and the Dynamics of Insurgent Practice in South Africa. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Guided by the insurgent practice theory of social movements, this study examines the dynamics of three major protest events initiated by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) political party in South Africa against the ruling African National Congress (ANC). This study examines how and to what extent third parties unified to support a broader challenge to the ANC in response to the EFF’s insurgent actions and the ANC’s repressive response. Through a methodology of historical narrative reconstruction of the protest events, the repressive response, and the responses of key third parties to the protest/repression dynamic, I found that the EFF’s unique insurgent practice of parliamentary disruption effectively leveraged existing cleavages between the ANC and the official opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) as well as between the ANC and its historic mass base. This sustained the EFF’s insurgency in the face of repression and emboldened third parties to engage in more effective tactics of opposition to the ANC alongside the EFF. The evidence of the dynamics of insurgent practice in this case expand the applicability of insurgent practice theory to the Global South, a field in which the theory had not previously been tested, and as such allows for a better understanding of how the dynamics of insurgent protest have affected South African political life, suggesting further applications for the theory in a diverse array of settings.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Joseph, Nathanael Grantngj2@pitt.edungj20000-0001-5001-6316
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBloom,
Committee MemberStaggenborg,
Committee MemberParet,
Date: 24 February 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 December 2021
Approval Date: 24 February 2022
Submission Date: 8 December 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 86
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Sociology
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: social movements, South Africa, insurgent practice
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2022 15:30
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2022 15:30


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