Liberalism in South Africa has attracted criticism from many quarters. A persistent objection focuses on the association between liberalism and capitalism, with liberals often cast as defenders of privilege and inequity and thereby as aligned with domination rather than liberation. This characterisation relies on a great deal of oversimplification. The length of the South African liberal tradition, and its diverse influences, means that South African liberalism resists easy definition. It is better seen as a family of resemblances than in terms of a lineage. The historical development of South African liberalism has therefore to be understood, above all, in terms of local conditions and contexts. By looking at its long history in this manner, it is possible to identify persistent strands of thought that are often disposed to support redistributive mechanisms. These may not be fully egalitarian and they may be pursued for pragmatic and prudential ends rather than as a matter of principle. Nevertheless, they include principled opposition to apartheid policies. Free-market ideologues have been exceptional within the long liberal tradition. An historical appreciation of the redistributive components of South African liberalism may help those who wish to revive modern liberalism as a social democratic movement.
In 2003, after more than 10 years of policy debate and public controversy, the South African minister of education announced a new policy for religion and education that distinguished between religious interests, which are best served by religious communities, and educational objectives for teaching and learning about religion, religions, and religious diversity that should be served by the curriculum of public schools. This article locates South Africa's new policy for religion and education in relation to attempts to redefine the role of the state in the transition from apartheid to democracy. The policy emerged within a new constitutional framework, which ensured freedom for religious expression and freedom from religious discrimination, but also within the context of state initiatives to affirm cultural diversity and mobilize unifying resources for social transformation. Accordingly, this article examines South Africa's policy for religion and public education as an index for understanding post-apartheid efforts in redefining the state as a constitutional, cultural, and transformative state.
Planning for redress or progress in South Africa
This article explores the contradictory and contested but closely inter- locking efforts of NGOs and the state in planning for land reform in South Africa. As government policy has come increasingly to favor the better-off who are potential commercial farmers, so NGO efforts have been directed, correspondingly, to safeguarding the interests of those conceptualized as poor and dispossessed. The article explores the claim that planned “tenure reform” is the best way to provide secure land rights, especially for laborers residing on white farms; illustrates the complex disputes over this claim arising between state and NGO sectors; and argues that we need to go beyond the concept of “neoliberal governmentality” to understand the relationship between these sectors.
Policy, temporality, and public health in South Africa
South Africa’s post-apartheid era has been marked by the continuation of racialized socioeconomic inequality, a social situation produced by earlier periods of settlement, colonization, and apartheid. While the ruling African National Congress has pursued a transformative political agenda, it has done so within the confines of neoliberal macroeconomic policy, including a period of fiscal austerity, which has had limited impact on poverty and inequality. Here, I explore how policy principles associated with austerity travel across time, space, and the levels of the state in South Africa, eventually manifesting in a public health policy that produced cuts to public health services. In assessing these sociopolitical dynamics, I utilize policy process as a chronotope to unify diverse experiences of temporality relative to austerity-inspired public health policy.
Virtuous Citizenship and Popular Sovereignty
What is virtuous citizenship? Is it possible to be a virtuous citizen whatever the form of one's state? Is it possible to be a virtuous citizen in the new South Africa? In this article I defend some Republican ideas on civic virtue and popular sovereignty, especially as found in the writings of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, to suggest that popular sovereignty is a necessary condition for active and virtuous citizenship. For it is only under conditions of popular sovereignty that the right kind of political agency is possible. I discuss these ideas in the context of modern constitutional democracies, and argue that constitutional democracy in South Africa is not an instance of popular sovereignty and thus does not provide the possibility for virtuous citizenship. I end the article with a proposal for addressing these deficiencies: effective citizen control over the constitution by means of a decennial plebiscite—a carnival of citizenship.
Radcliffe-Brown and Malinowski’s South African engagements, 1919–1934
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.
Mobile Autoethnography on a South African Bus Service
Th is article takes an autoethnographic approach in exploring the micropolitics of mobility with particular reference to race, class, and identity on one South African bus service. For his daily commute between an inner-city Cape Town suburb and a worksite near the metropolitan edge, the author explores personal, embodied, and political dimensions of mobility in a context where race continues to dictate the expected parameters of mobility practice. When socioeconomics might allow for private car ownership and use (and when timegeographies almost require it), the autoethnography at the heart of this article requires the author to question the politics of choosing not to drive; to be a public transport passeng er when one is expected to be a driver. In spite of the author’s intentional status in the member group of bus passengers, experience of six months of everyday bus use sheds light on hidden dimensions of mobility inequality. It contributes toward filling a gap in empirical evidence on contemporary bus passengering and the continuing role of race in contexts of visibly differentiated and differentiating everyday mobility.
Intended and Hidden History Curriculum in South Africa
This article focuses on how some aspects of the South African history curriculum are interpreted and "lived out" in two South African high schools. The article introduces the history curriculum reconstruction process and its surrounding developments from 1994 until the release of the National Curriculum Statement in 2003. It then focuses on the curricular intentions, which reflect the reorganization of history teaching and serve as a benchmark for teachers. Using empirical data gathered in Afrikaans schools, I describe how classroom practices represent the history curriculum. The data indicates that schools provide space for curriculum modification and the creation of a "hidden curriculum."
The Impact of Processes of Policy Formulation and New
In post-apartheid South Africa, the traditional understandings of museums and heritage have been challenged in terms of how meaning making, heritage construction, and knowledge production were conducted in the colonial past. In a series of processes of transformation, new approaches to museum action and heritage management have begun to take shape and develop in South Africa. Central to all of this have been the processes of policy formulation and new legislation that have provided the impetus for change. The aim of this article is to briefly chart some of these processes and the subsequent legislation that have begun to affect the ways in which South African heritage and museums are being reconfigured in a postcolonial and post-apartheid era. This policy formulation and the new legislation have focused on extending what is considered to be heritage by including intangible cultural heritage. It has also looked at empowering local communities, with an emphasis on sustainable development.
The Politics of the Vagina in Brazil and South Africa
Lisa Beljuli Brown
This article looks at ideas and practices around female virginity in Brazil and South Africa. In South Africa, virginity testing of girls as young as six occurs. In Brazil, speculation about female virginity can have a devastating impact on young women's lives. In both contexts the intactness of the vagina becomes a symbol of a woman's worth as well as a reflection of national well-being or decline. I use feminist psychoanalytic theory to connect such valuations and practices to a perceived threat to the symbolic order of language, culture and law. I argue that during times of social upheaval the vagina comes to represent the abject, or a threat to the subject, and is policed in order for dominant meanings to remain intact. As women's experiences in both contexts demonstrate, these meanings are implicated in a violent economy of women's body parts, which render women symbolically homeless. Yet in Brazil, women subvert these valuations in an ongoing struggle for subjectivity, which involves the creative appropriation of soap operas, and the conversion of suffering into pleasure.