This article explores the relationship between nonstate security and political participation in South Africa. Since Hobbes, political philosophers have argued that the provision of security is a chief state responsibility, one that legitimates the relationship between state and society, yet in reality, various nonstate actors provide security. Therefore, this article explores the political consequences of nonstate security provision. Using Afrobarometer data collected in South Africa in 2011, I examine whether nonstate provision shapes citizens’ decision to protest and vote. I find that individuals’ reliance on nonstate security does affect protesting and voting, albeit in different ways: South Africans who rely on nonstate security are more likely to protest and less likely to vote, but only when they see the state as legitimate.


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pp. 106-135
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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