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Raymond Suttner

Non-racialism is examined in relation to the concepts of race, generic humanism and universalism in order to establish conditions under which non-racialism can be implemented as an emancipatory concept. Denial of the salience or even the existence of the concept 'race' and also tendencies to organise on the basis of race essentialism are examined. It is accepted that race does not exist at an ontological level, in that it is not required for the constitution of the human subject. But race does exist historically and socially. To ignore its existence in addressing the question of non-racialism would be to deny the validity of the experience of racial inequality. At the same time, organisation on the basis of race, while sometimes motivated by strategic considerations, carries the danger of slippage and a permanent racialised identity. The post-1994 period is seen as opening the road to universalism and thus removing the basis for strategic essentialism.

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Shelley Stagg Peterson

J. L. Powers. 2011. This Thing Called the Future. El Paso, TX: Cinco Puntos Press.

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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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The Discipline of Discovery

Reflections on the Relationship between Internal and External Conditions of Knowledge Formation

Ulrike Kistner

Starting with Foucault's articulation of factors in the formation of an order of discourse, and Ludwik Fleck's ideas on the structures of thought collectives and thought styles, this article mounts some reflections on the relationship between internal and external conditions of knowledge formation. In particular, it will look at the productive function of thought constraints – discipline – in the formation and transmission of knowledge, and bring this consideration to bear on some perils besetting the humanities not only 'from without', but also 'from within', notably the turn from academic teaching to externally oriented professional training, and an uncritical, general-programmatic proclamation of 'Multi-, Inter, and Trans-Disciplinarity' ('MIT') reorganising discourses, disciplines and orders of knowledge.

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Patricia G. Boyer, Lorna Holtman, Carole H. Murphy and Beverley Thaver

The downturn of the global economy requires universities worldwide to do more with fewer resources. These conditions have presented an opportunity for two universities, the University of the Western Cape and the University of Missouri-St. Louis, to collaborate on a research course offered to postgraduate students. The purpose of this article is to outline the overall administration, management and structure of an innovative research programme between two countries. The aim is also to share the experiences and challenges of this research partnership, to explain how the parties involved navigated policies, to demonstrate what expertise the two educational institutions gained from the collaboration and to recount the benefits received by students and faculty from working internationally.

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Idleness in South Africa Re-visited

Ethnographic methods and `Hottentot' travel accounts

Norman Buchignani

This paper has two broad objectives. In section I, I identify several ways that widely accepted criteria in anthropology for adequate ethnographic data collection, analysis and representation can be usefully applied to the study of text-based discourses on Europe’s Others. In particular, I suggest that the more consistent application of fieldwork- derived methodological standards and practice to travel literature could help analysts approach levels of validity and reliability now routinely demanded in ethnographic research. Their use might also lead to ethnographies of text that are more consistent with long-term anthropological research paradigms than works employing methods derived from other fields of inquiry.

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Into the Light?

Critical Theory and Social Change in South Africa

Ben Parker

Beyond Hegel and Nietzsche: Philosophy, Culture and Agency, by Elliot L. Jurist. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2000.

The Postnational Constellation: Political Essays, by Jürgen Habermas. Translated, edited and with an introduction by Max Pensky. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2001.

Pluralism and the Pragmatic Turn: The Transformation of Critical Theory. Essays in Honor of Thomas McCarthy, edited by William Rehg and James Bohman. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2001.

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Beyond Party Politics

Unexpected Democracydeepening Consequences of One-party Dominance in South Africa

Heidi Leigh Matisonn

It might be claimed that something approaching a broad consensus has emerged in political science that democracy, in any operationally viable form, entails a multi-party system. However, in recent times the notion that this view is fully captured by a narrowly instrumentalist party-political model has been challenged. It is argued that while parties are widely accepted as a democratic compromise—a necessary mechanism for representation in contemporary democracies— insufficient consideration is given to the possibility that parties may also serve to compromise democracy by alienating citizens from government.

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Re-siting corporate responsibility

The making of South Africa's Avon entrepreneurs

Catherine Dolan and Mary Johnstone-Louis

The bottom-of-the-pyramid (BOP) approach is championed as a way to deliver both corporate profits and poverty reduction. This article explores how “the poor” are repurposed as the instruments of ethical capitalism through the archetypal BOP model—Avon Cosmetics. A harbinger of “compassionate capitalism,” Avon has long stylized its entrepreneurial opportunity as a channel to a transcendent realm of self-actualization and social transformation. The company pursues this vision through a set of discourses and calculative practices that aim to produce industrious, self-disciplined, and empowered “entrepreneurs.” However, while BOP systems like Avon may provide a viable income stream for “poor” women, the practices through which women are “converted” into enterprising subjects can confound their intended “empowerment” effects. The article suggests that while targeting the “bottom of the pyramid” may elide the distinction between the maximization of profit and the imperatives of sustainable development, devolving corporate social responsibility (CSR) to the “entrepreneurial poor” raises questions about the implications of “making poverty business.”

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Strange Fruit

The South African Truth Commission and the Demonic Economies of Violence

Allen Feldman

At no other time more than in the present day has individual, social and institutional memory come under such concerted pressure, critique and exposure as a fragile foundation for truth and facticity. This current reluctance to authenticate social memory is intimately tied to well-known postmodernist depredations, which profoundly disenchanted the authority of tradition and authenticity, and emptied core institutionalised myths of their temporal and semantic continuity. As institutionalised memory fails to provide overarching master narratives that can win cultural consent, it has also become increasingly disjunctive with previously unnarratable history and experience. Consider the synchronic fictions of recent ethno-histories, the historians’ debate in Germany on the facticity of the Holocaust, or even the critique of post-traumatic stress disorder and other recuperations of traumatic memory whose fictive psycho-medical legitimacy has been challenged by Alan Young and Ian Hacking.