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Introduction

Hierarchy, Value, and the Value of Hierarchy

Naomi Haynes and Jason Hickel

follow this discussion with some short ethnographic examples from our own work in southern Africa that illustrate the importance of hierarchy in the specific contexts of Christian practice and political democratization. These examples then open the way

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Beyond the utility of violence

Interpreting five homicides in the South African lowveld

Isak Niehaus

This article points to the limitations of utilitarian theories of violence, as evident in the works of anthropologists who insist that all acts of violence either serve instrumental purposes (such as advancing one's own position) or expressive purposes (such as communicating key social ideas). Against the totalizing claims of such theories, the article observes that most homicides that occurred in the South African lowveld village where I conducted fieldwork research were the unanticipated consequence of men striking out in moments of anger. Although not the purposeful outcome of calculated conduct, these homicides were not however random. The high incidence of homicide can be explained in terms of Sahlins's concept of conjunctive agency, and by the co-presence of structural conditions of deprivation, ideologies of masculine domination, the wide prevalence of firearms, and the social enactment of rage.

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Round table report

Advancing regional social integration, social protection, and the free movement of people in Southern Africa

Lorenzo Fioramonti

The round table on “Advancing regional social integration, social protection, and free movement of people in Southern Africa” was organized as part of the conference “Regional governance of migration and social policy: Comparing European and African regional integration policies and practices” held at the University of Pretoria (South Africa) on 18–20 April 2012, at which the articles in this special issue were first presented. The discussion was moderated by Prince Mashele of the South African Centre for Politics and Research and the participants included: Yitna Getachew, IOM Regional Representative for Southern Africa, Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA); Jonathan Crush, University of Cape Town and Balsillie School of International Affairs, Canada, representing the Southern Africa Migration Program (SAMP); Vic van Vuuren, Director of Southern African ILO; Vivienne Taylor, South Africa Planning Commission; Sergio Calle Norena, Deputy Regional Representative of UNHCR; Laurent De Boeck, Director, ACP Observatory on Migration, Brussels; Wiseman Magasela, Deputy Director General Social Policy, South African Department of Social Development; and Sanusha Naidu, Open Society Foundation for South Africa.

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Ndangwa Noyoo

Social cohesion is a powerful force that has helped to change and reshape the political landscape of southern Africa in the last four decades. However, social cohesion is rarely factored into regional integration endeavors in this part of Africa, which are in the main, geared towards economic imperatives. With economic development as the primary objective of nations in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the assumption here seems to centre on the notion that once the region has been economically integrated, then human development would follow. This thinking is in line with the neo-liberal paradigm of “trickle down” economics which has not been very helpful to states of this region. Nonetheless, this lop-sided view of regional integration has a history.

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Teresa Barnes

Contemporary social history is premised on the idea of writing histories of ordinary people. This article reflects critically on the concept of “ordinariness“ as facilitated by the author's brief moment of personal fame and her professional experiences of learning and writing about women's and gender history in and of southern Africa. These perspectives then informed her attempts to write and publish a story of the brief encounter in the late 1930s between a member of her family and the brilliant African-American writer, Richard Wright. The article explores the parameters and definitions of “ordinariness“ in African and American history.

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Bob Deacon, Lorenzo Fioramonti and Sonja Nita

In many respects, Europe and Africa (particularly Southern Africa) represent two opposing examples in the study of intra-regional migration and social cohesion. The European Union (EU) has been a global pioneer in allowing freedom of movement and portability of social rights across member states. A centerpiece of the EU integration process has been the progressive establishment of a common market, in which goods, services, capital, and people can move freely. With regard to the latter, the concept of free movement originally only targeted the economically active population (in other words, the free movement of workers) but was gradually extended by Treaty amendments to all citizens of the EU. This extension was further strengthened by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992, which introduced the concept of citizenship in the European Union thereby establishing the fundamental and personal right to move and reside freely within the EU.

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Sandra Swart

Conceptual work on the history of mobilities has been devoid of animation other than humans and their machines. The deafening automobility of the present has drowned out memories of an “animal past” teleologically, and the raucous rapidity of the mobile machine drives over the “animal present.” This article is an attempt to explore what a history of mobility that takes animals seriously might look like. It is based on the argument that living nonhuman creatures have their own mobilities and that these animobilities have shaped and been shaped by human societies. It is intended to open up historical narratives of a complex, shifting, nonlinear relationship between animals and changing human technologies of transport—as part of this journal's mission to rethink mobility and include more subaltern approaches. A key finding is that mobility's negative sociopolitical and environmental effects on different groups, in fact species, are inversely correlated to their proximity to power. This article touches on several research trajectories, but the focus is on control of mobility by the state, with case studies drawn from southern Africa's history.

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David Evans, Joanne Trevenna, David C. Green, Tina M. Kelleher, Mary Waldren, Andy Croft, George Wotton, Dennis Brown, Shorsha Sullivan, Dimitris Lyacos and Adam Rounce

ILLUMINATIONS: An International Magazine of Contemporary Writing – New Writing from South and Southern Africa. The Rathasker Press; Summer 1998. ISSN 0736–4725. Subs $20; STO £5, Illuminations, Department of English, College of Charleston, 66 George Street, Charleston, SC 29424–0001, USA

Gothic Forms of Feminine Fictions. Susanne Becker (Manchester University Press, 1999), ISBN 0–7190–5331–5

In the Shadow of the Holocaust and Other Essays. C. Ponomareff (Amsterdam-Atlanta: Rodopi, 1998), ISBN: 90–420–0562–9

Strange Gourmets: Sophistication, Theory and the Novel. Joseph Litvak (Durham: Duke University Press, 1997), ISBN 0–8223–2016–9; £14.95

Maria Edgeworth’s Irish Writing: Language, History and Politics. Brian Hollingsworth (London: Macmillan, 1997), ISBN 0–333–68166–5.

Working-Class Fiction from Chartism to Trainspotting. Ian Haywood (Plymouth: Northcote House, 1997). Writers and theirWork Series, ISBN 0–7463–0780–2; £8.99

A Preface To Greene. Cedric Watts (Longman, 1997), ISBN 0–582–25019–6; £14.99 (paperback)

The Radical Twenties: Aspects of Writing, Politics and Culture. John Lucas (Five Leaves Publications, 1997), ISBN 0–907123–17–1 paperback; £11.99

Lives of the Poets. Michael Schmidt (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999), ISBN 0–297–84014–2; £22.00

Jonz. Philip Ramp (Athens, 1997). Translated by Lydia Stephanou. Bilingual edition.

Studies in Classic Australian Fiction. Michael Wilding (Sydney and Nottingham: Sydney Studies in Society and Culture, and Shoestring Press, 1997), ISBN 0–949405–13–2; £12.99

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“Small Acts”

The Perspective, Location and Agency of Theory in South African Cultural Studies

Ashraf Jamal

In an interview with David Attwell, recorded in 1993 at the School of Criticism and Theory at Dartmouth College New Hampshire, Homi Bhabha turns his liminal gaze to the fate of South Africa. His position, that of “an outsider … a bystander and consumer of the media” (Attwell 1993: 109), invokes a reading of the state of the nation and its cultural predicament which, nine years hence, remains compelling. What is particularly striking about the conversation, conducted at a geographical remove during a charged historical time when South Africa forges what will prove to be an on-going process of disinterring itself from a legacy of oppression, is Bhabha’s eschewal of a saving telos and his insistence on turning and returning to “the semiosis of the moment of transition” (1993: 104). For Bhabha this moment is not the Gramscian interregnum between two distinct states of governance. Rather, his conception subsumes the notion of two distinct states as well as Antonio Gramsci’s conception of the moment between as the emergent locus for a symptomatic morbidity. Here Bhabha diverges from the perception of those within South Africa for whom the interregnum has served as a prevailing trope, most notably Nadine Gordimer in The Essential Gesture: Writing, Politics and Places (1988: 262) and Michael Chapman in Southern African Literatures (1996: 327-331). Rather, between the renunciation of a past and the proleptic fulfilment of a future, Bhabha proffers a more enabling conception of the moment of transition; one which, having “overcome the given grounds of opposition … opens up a space of translation: a place of hybridity, figuratively speaking, where the construction of a political object that is new, neither the one nor the other, properly alienates our political expectation, and changes, as it must, the very forms of our recognition of the moment of politics” (Bhabha 1994: 25).

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Regional social integration and free movement across borders

The role of social policy in enabling and preventing access to social entitlements by cross-border movers. European Union and Southern Africa compared

Bob Deacon and Sonia Nita

English abstract: Social policies are central to regional social integration. This article addresses this with the European Union (EU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). It considers the part that access to social security, social assistance, health and education services play in facilitating free movement within regions. The article shows that in the EU the formal reality of free movement is substantially curtailed by problems with the portability of and access to social benefits. In SADC migrants' access to social protection and social services show remarkable similarity to the EU. Access to social assistance is missing in both regions for some movers. Given the symbolic nature of the “no recourse to public funds for migrants“ mantra of national social policies in both regions the article concludes that a policy and funding response at the regional or even global level is required if regional social integration is to be enhanced through social policy.

Spanish abstract: Las políticas sociales son fundamentales para la integración social regional. Este artículo aborda este precepto en la Unión Europea (UE) y la Comunidad de Desarrollo de África Austral (SADC), considerando que los servicios de acceso a la seguridad social, a la asistencia social, a la salud y a la educación juegan un papel en la facilitación de la libre circulación entre regiones. El documento muestra que en la UE la realidad formal de la libre circulación se ve sustancialmente reducida por problemas con la portabilidad y el acceso a las prestaciones sociales. En la SADC el acceso de los migrantes a la protección social y a los servicios sociales muestra una marcada similitud con la UE. En ambas regiones, el acceso a la asistencia social no existe para algunos sujetos. Dado el carácter simbólico del mantra de las políticas sociales nacionales en ambas regiones de "no recurrir a los fondos públicos para los migrantes", el trabajo concluye que se requiere una respuesta política y definanciación a nivel regional, o incluso mundial, si se pretende mejorar la integración social regional a través de la política social.

French abstract: Les politiques sociales se situent actuellement au cœur de l'intégration sociale régionale. Ce document aborde ce e question dans le cas de l'Union européenne (UE) et de la Communauté de développement d'Afrique australe (SADC). Il considère le fait que, l'accès à la sécurité sociale, aux services sociaux, à la santé et à l'éducation participe de manière effective à la libre circulation des personnes au sein des régions. Le document montre que dans l'UE, la réalité formelle de la libre circulation est considérablement restreinte par des problèmes liés à l'adaptation et à l'accès aux prestations sociales. L'accès des migrants à la protection sociale et aux services sociaux au sein du SADC montre des similitudes remarquables avec l'UE. L'accès à l'aide sociale est absent dans les deux régions pour certains transfrontaliers. Compte tenu de la nature symbolique du «non recours aux fonds publics pour les migrants" appliqué dans les politiques sociales nationales de ces deux régions, cet article conclut qu'une politique et une réponse financière élaborée au niveau régional ou même mondial sont nécessaires si l'on souhaite que l'intégration régionale sociale soit renforcée par la politique sociale.