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Anthropology at the dawn of apartheid

Radcliffe-Brown and Malinowski’s South African engagements, 1919–1934

Isak Niehaus

In this article, I focus on different strategies of anthropological engagement with government and potential funders. I do so by considering the diverse nature of Alfred Radcliffe-Brown and Bronislaw Malinowski’s encounters with South African authorities, between 1919 and 1934. I suggest that Radcliffe-Brown saw South Africa as an integrated society in which segregation was impossible, and advocated the sympathetic scientific understanding of cultural difference within this context. By contrast, Malinowski was committed to a romantic vision of holistic cultures, collaborated directly with colonial authorities, and argued for a policy of effective cultural and territorial segregation. The strategies had important longterm consequences and costs, calculable only from the privileged vantage point of history.

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Editorial

South African Writing at the Crossroads

Nahem Yousaf and Graham Pechey

The stranger’s words addressed to the hero in J.M. Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K bring home in a very concrete way the relentless binarism not only of the apartheid order (revealingly figured in its truth as the disorder of civil war), but also of many Western forms of life and thinking: a typically high-modern technology sums up an epistemology no less typical. The train abolishes the age-old institution of the crossroads, the three- or four-way junction which puts before the traveller two or more options besides the one of retracing his steps back along the way he came. Daredevils who ‘ride staff’ on township trains may be rebellious terms in a system, but terms of that system they remain. Yesterday’s staffrider on the train of progress is today’s builder of his own locomotive. This is the logic whereby we have seen in South Africa rival nationalisms arising out of the early transcultural flux of Empire and then, at length, imposing their different inflections of the modern project upon the rest of their compatriots.

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Relations of Trust, Questions about Expectations

Reflections on a Photography Project with Young South Africans

Oliver Pattenden

This article stems from my doctoral research, which considers moral contestation relating to education in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Overall, I outline a case for working with young people: addressing asymmetrical institutional and generational relations of power in order to enrich the knowledge generated by research. My focus is a project entitled My Future, which involved approximately forty learners drawing diagrams and using disposable cameras to produce representations of their moral judgements. Notable distinctions between data gathered during two stages of fieldwork, of differing durations, are analysed with reference to my relations with interlocutors and related institutionalised and public discourses of morality. Using the concept of trust, which is established during exchanges of mutually beneficial sociality, I argue that how we understand others depends upon what they expect from us and what we expect of them.

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Egalitarian Liberalism

What Are Its Possible Futures in South Africa?

David Bilchitz and Daryl Glaser

Liberalism is associated by many with the protection of private property and the insulation of economic markets from state intervention. Yet the liberal tradition is very diverse, and some have taken its concern with equality and liberty in radically egalitarian directions that belie the reduction of liberalism to market-fundamentalist ‘neoliberalism’.

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Raphael de Kadt

Richard Turner was, and arguably remains, the most brilliant, original and intellectually arresting South African philosopher of the post Second World War era, if not of all time. The prematurity and nature of his assassination, conjoined to the difficulty in accessing much of his later work, also renders him one of the potentially and tragically most ‘forgotten’ figures in South Africa’s intellectual history.

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Editorial

Situating Screen Bodies

Brian Bergen-Aurand

This cover of Screen Bodies features a photograph by Collen Mfazwe entitled “Love Has No Gender, Race or Sexuality. Boitumelo and Collen. (August 2017).” Mfazwe lives in Benoni, Gauteng, South Africa, and is a photographer at the South African platform Inkanyiso (Zulu for “the one who brings light”). In “Love Has No Gender,” we find a summary of Mfazwe’s response to South Africa’s drastically high rate of violent crime against womxn, lesbians, and bisexual and trans folk, a long-running pattern of gender-based violence that she confronts in a series she has been developing since 2017 called Imizimba (Bodies).

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Mark Chou and Jean-Paul Gagnon

This issue of Democratic Theory begins with the article by Monique Deveaux that examines the obstacles to deliberative inclusion, especially with regard to women. In this critical analysis of the potential of deliberative procedures and institutions, Deveaux analyzes land reform in post-apartheid South Africa and suggests strategies for deliberative democrats to redress the conventional exclusion of subordinated members ofsociety.

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Transformative cities

A response to Narotzky, Collins, and Bertho

Ida Susser and Stéphane Tonnelat

When our article was first written, the Occupy movement was in full swing and we were clearly in optimistic mode. However, as all studies of social movements have shown, from the antiapartheid struggles of South Africa to the rebellious nineteenth century in France or Britain, the road of mobilization is never straightforward. Nor did we assume that “Occupy” in the United States or even the popular rebellions of the Arab Spring would lead to a blossoming of democratic nations. We take these understandings from writers such as Eric Hobsbawm (1996), who understood the French Revolution and the British industrial revolution as complementary processes that set the stage for the imperfect and unequal nation-states of France and Britain today. In South Africa (to pick one historic moment), after the high school students who took to the streets in protest in Soweto were mowed down by South African army tanks, the streets were virtually quiescent for a decade. However, over 40 years of fascism in South Africa, the 1950s bus boycotts, the 1960s Sharpeville massacre, the famous trials of Mandela and others, the Soweto school children, and finally the union mobilization in a United Front and international sanctions led to the end of apartheid. But, as we are all now aware, these battles did not end inequality or neoliberalism.

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Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought (Expanded Edition) by Sheldon S. Wolin Andrew Nash

Democracy Compromised: Chiefs and the Politics of Land in South Africa by Lungisile Ntsebeza Keith Breckenridge

Sociology, Religion and Grace: A Quest for the Renaissance by Arpad Szakolczai Roger Deacon

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Theorising Race

Imagining Possibilities

Kira Erwin and Gerhard Maré

This special issue emerges from a concern with academic practice around researching and theorising race, racialism and racism; particularly within the current theoretical climate in which race is, in the majority, accepted as a social construct. In public thinking and discourse, however, acceptance of the biological existence of races continues to dominate in many societies. Racial classification also continues in many state practices in South Africa such as the collection of racial demographics though the national census, and through countless private and public officials reporting towards government-stipulated race-based employment acts. These classification practices raise contradictions for the constitutional goal of non-racialism in South Africa. South Africa has also signed and ratified the International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Professional Interest/Pages/CERD.aspx), which aims to eliminate racial discrimination in member states. The convention, to which member states are legally bound, raises a number of pressing issues that, to date, are not present in a wider national debate on the continued use of race in South African state policy. For example, there is little recognition by the state of the difficulties associated with identifying a targeted group based on race, nor clarity as to whether these groups are identified through markers based on phenotype, or socio-economic or cultural differences. Nor is there open discussion on the use of terms such as fair and unfair discrimination and how they relate to terms such as distinction and differentiation (see Bossuyt 2000), and the legal consequences of using such terms.