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The Politics of Ethnicity as an Extended Case

Thoughts on a Chiefly Succession Crisis

Björn Lindgren

The crisis engendered by the appointment of a female chiefto succeed her father in southern Zimbabwe is used to discuss how anextended case can inform us about the politics of ethnicity and its conflicts. The formation of the case demonstrates a cross-section of socialand cultural dynamics through which the protagonists negotiated andpracticed their values and interests. Thus, the protagonists to the crisisinvoked histories and nationalisms, manipulated ethnic affiliation, andquestioned gender hierarchies to ground and substantiate their differentclaims. Through these optics, Fredrik Barth's constructivist understanding of ethnicity is critiqued. Ethnicity is not an elementary identity;instead, its form and substance must be related to other social phenomena and to historical changes that contextualize ethnic identification.This approach, no less social than that of Barth, does not obviate culture,which is referred to here as the ideas, experiences, and feelings thatinfuse persons through their existential practices.

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Electoral and Intellectual Exercises in Validation

The Ebbing Wave in Southern Africa

Stephen Chan

Huntington's third wave of democracy was no such thing. It neither ushered in a democratic era nor was it a wave in any acceptable historical sense. What it did do was to highlight a contrast and competition among norms and values, so that what we automatically regard as undemocratic practice that is norm-free is no such thing. They might perhaps, and with a freight of contingencies, be bad norms—but they are still norms.

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Nadine Feyder

In the Human Development Report of 2010, 135 countries representing 92% of the world population had a higher Human Development Index than in the 1970s. Three countries were an exception to the rule: Zambia, Zimbabwe, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As it celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence, the DRC rates itself 168th out of a total of 169 countries on the Human Development Index scale.

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Marja Spierenburg, Conrad Steenkamp and Harry Wels

The Great Limpopo is one of the largest Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) in the world, encompassing vast areas in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. The TFCA concept is embraced by practically all (international) conservation agencies. The rationale for the support is that the boundaries of ecosystems generally do not overlap with those of the nation-state. Their protection requires transnational cooperation. By arguing that local communities living in or close to TFCAs will participate and benefit economically, TFCA proponents claim social legitimacy for the project. However, analysis shows that communities first have to live up to rigid standards and requirements set by the international conservation authorities, before they are considered ‘fit’ to participate. Communities attempt to resist this type of marginalization by forming alliances with (inter)national development and human rights NGOs, with mixed results.

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The Girl in the Text

Representations, Positions, and Perspectives

Ann Smith

In our call for proposals we invited contributors to explore how the representations of girls in written or graphic texts invite us to think about girlhood( s) from new and/or different perspectives. My interest in how the girl in the text might operate in different ways and/or from different perspectives dates back almost two decades; it was sparked in 1988 when I first encountered Tsitsi Dangarembga’s Nervous Conditions A Novel, published that year. This work of fiction immediately headed up the Required Reading List for the new Feminist Literature elective on which I was working with two colleagues in the Department of English at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. My preference for this Zimbabwean novel had to do, in part, with the fact that Olive Schreiner’s Story of an African Farm, often thought to have been the first feminist South African novel, published under the male pseudonym Ralph Irons in 1883, introduces feminism in a kind of separate manifesto about the status of women in society.

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Comparative regional integration in SADC and ASEAN

Democracy and governance issues in historical and socio-economic context

Robert W. Compton Jr.

English abstract: Both the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) support regional and national integration, the protection of human rights and civil society involvement, and non-interference in member states' internal affairs. Sometimes these goals at the regional level become mutually exclusive. Human rights groups, international organizations, and Western states have criticized human rights abuses and democracy and governance shortcomings in several ASEAN states (e.g., Vietnam and Myanmar) and SADC countries (e.g., Swaziland, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe). This article addresses ASEAN and SADC's historical context and continued development related to these issues. It also evaluates the regional organizations' effectiveness in balancing o en mutually exclusive goals and concludes that existing regional organizational strength and cohesion impact the approaches used to manage conflict and external criticism and build greater social cohesion regionally and within states. SADC utilizes a “regional compliance model“ based on political criteria whereas ASEAN utilizes a “constructive engagement“ or “economic integration first“ model. SADC places greater emphasis on placing good governance, especially as it relates to human rights, at the forefront of regionalism. ASEAN sublimates human rights to regional integration through constructive engagement and greater emphases on economic relations. Two distinct models of regional integration exist.

Spanish abstract: La Comunidad de Desarrollo de África Austral (SADC por sus siglas en inglés), y la Asociación de Naciones del Sudeste Asiático (ASEAN en inglés), apoyan la integración regional/continental y nacional, la protección de los derechos humanos, la participación de la sociedad civil, y la no injerencia en los asuntos internos de los estados miembros. A veces, estas metas son mutuamente excluyentes a nivel regional. Grupos de derechos humanos, organizaciones internacionales y estados occidentales han criticado las violaciones de los derechos humanos y las deficiencias en democracia y gobernabilidad en varios Estados de la ASEAN (por ejemplo, Vietnam y Myanmar) y en algunos países de la SADC (por ejemplo, Suazilandia, Madagascar y Zimbabue). En este artículo se aborda el contexto histórico de la SADC y la ASEAN y su continuo desarrollo relacionado con los temas mencionados. También se evalúa la eficacia de las organizaciones regionales, haciendo el balance entre los objetivos a menudo mutuamente excluyentes, y concluye que la existente fuerza regional de organización y cohesión impacta los enfoques utilizados para manejar el conflicto y la crítica externa, y promueve la construcción de una mayor cohesión social regionalmente y dentro de los estados. La SADC utiliza un “modelo de cumplimiento regional“ basado en criterios políticos, mientras que la ASEAN utiliza un modelo de “compromiso constructivo“ o “integración económica primero“. La SADC pone mayor énfasis en afianzar la buena gobernanza, especialmente en lo relacionado con los derechos humanos, a la vanguardia del regionalismo. La ASEAN vincula los derechos humanos a la integración regional a través de un compromiso constructivo y pone un mayor énfasis en las relaciones económicas. Dos existentes modelos diferentes de integración regional.

French abstract: La Communauté de développement d'Afrique australe (SADC en anglais), aussi bien que L'Association des nations de l'Asie du SudEst (ANASE) soutiennent respectivement les principes relatifs à l'intégration régionale et nationale, à la protection des droits de l'homme, à la participation de la société civile dans l'agenda publique, ainsi qu'à la non-ingérence dans les affaires internes des Etats. Toutefois, il arrive que ces objectifs deviennent mutuellement exclusifs au niveau régional. Les organisations de défense des droits de l'homme et les gouvernements occidentaux n'ont jamais cessé de critiquer les violations des droits de l'homme, ainsi que les lacunes en matière de démocratie et de gouvernance qui prévalent dans les pays membre de l'ANASE (ex : le Viet Nam, Myanmar) et ceux de la SADC (ex : le Swaziland, Madagascar et le Zimbabwe). Cet article aborde le contexte historique dans lequel l'ANASE et la SADC ont vu le jour ainsi que la nature des enjeux qui l'ont suivi. Il évalue également d'un point de vue comparé, l'efficacité de ces organisations régionales sur la base des objectifs qu'ils se sont fixés, tout en penchant pour la conclusion selon laquelle la présence d'une force régionale influente impacte nécessairement dans la gestion des conflits, et combien la critique externe participe à la construction d'une plus grande cohésion sociale et régionale au sein des États. La SADC s'appuie un “modèle de conformité régionale» fondé sur des critères politiques, tandis que l'ANASE fait appel à un “engagement constructif“ ayant pour modèle “l'intégration économique“. La SADC accorde davantage plus d'importance à la mise en œuvre d'une bonne gouvernance, particulièrement en ce qui concerne les droits de l'homme et l'évolution vers un régionalisme plus avancé. L'ANASE sublime les droits de l'homme à l'intégration régionale par le biais d'un engagement constructif et de grandes insistances dans les relations économiques. Ce qui fait d'eux deux modèles d'intégration régionale distincts.