Recent and upcoming events

Thinking Historically about the “Black Tax”: Gender, Schooling, and Race in Umlazi Township

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 11 April, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Professor Mark Hunter
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

In the 2010s the term “black tax” became widely used to describe the unceasing claims of family members on the incomes of working black South Africans. There are various ways to contextualize the term’s recent use, including examining its connections to the #RhodesMustFall and #FeesMustFall movements. Yet this talk develops a historical viewpoint exploring the contested ways in which money and emotions became attached to formal education—as schooling itself increasingly became necessary to secure employment. Focused on Umlazi in the 1960s, the talk emphasizes gendered family dynamics surrounding schooling in this newly built apartheid township located on the outskirts of Durban. It shows the particular efforts that mothers made to school their children—despite and indeed because of apartheid’s oppressive educational and urban policies. In the face of increasingly insecure intimate relations, a booming economy, and expanded basic education, mothers’ attention to their children’s and grandchildren’s education grew in importance and scale: education required sacrifices but promised children’s eventual support.

Presenter biography: Mark Hunter is Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Toronto and Honorary Research Fellow at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has degrees from the Universities of Sussex (B.A. hons), KwaZulu-Natal (Masters) and University of California-Berkeley (PhD). He is the author of Love in the Time of AIDS: Inequality, Gender, and Rights in South Africa (Indiana and KwaZulu-Natal University Presses) and is currently completing a book on schooling, families and class in Durban. 

Child abuse in South Africa: prevalence, risk factors, prevention and measurement issues

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 4 April, 2017 - 14:30 to 15:30
Presenter(s): 
Dr. Franziska Meinck
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Child abuse victimisation is a major public health concern in South Africa. Research on risk and protective factors and prevention interventions is still in its infancy. In this talk, Franziska will describe findings on linkages between risk factors of abuse and putative health outcomes as well as ongoing research on the prevention of child abuse using parenting interventions. Further, she will talk about issues regarding the measurement of child abuse and potential ways forward to mitigate these.

Presenter biography: Franziska Meinck is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Centre for Evidence-Based Interventions at the University of Oxford. She holds a BA in Social Work from the Free University of Bolzano-Bozen, an MSc in Evidence-Based Social Interventions and a DPhil in Social Interventions from the University of Oxford. Her research focuses on the epidemiology of child abuse in South Africa investigating prevalence rates and risk and protective factors as well as access to services. Her new research project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council in the UK aims to develop and validate child abuse measures for use in intervention studies in different cultural contexts.

Racial and ethnic politics in the United States: The positive effect of political representation on political participation

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 4 April, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Carole Uhlaner
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

People participate more in politics when they believe someone represents their interests.  In the contemporary United States, having a representative who shares a person’s racial, ethnic, or gender identity increases participation and furthers political incorporation of immigrants.  Three empirical analyses support these claims.  The first shows the effect of coethnic candidacies on vote turnout among Vietnamese Americans.  The second study shows the positive effect of having coethnic/cogender U.S. state legislators on voter turnout.  The third study shows the positive effect of “feeling represented” on several types of political participation by Latinos in 1989 and Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans in 2016.

Presenter biography: Professor Uhlaner works in the field of comparative political behavior, notably in North America and Western Europe. She is particularly interested in understanding mass political participation and mass-elite linkages. She has worked on theories of social choice and rationality and has used this to guide her empirical work. Her current research examines the political mobilization of ethnic minorities in the United States. In addition, she has worked on gender and politics. Professor Uhlaner's graduate teaching includes seminars on political participation and representation, political behavior, and methods of political inquiry. She often uses mathematical and formal approaches in her teaching as well as research.

 

The Impact of an Integrated Adolescent Youth Centre and Clinic on Sexual Reproductive Healthcare Utilisation and HIV Testing in the Western Cape

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 28 March, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
A Mendelsohn, K Gill, R Marcus, D Robbertze, C Van De Venter, E Mendel, L Mzukwa, LG Bekker
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Despite the increasing HIV incidence among young South African women, HIV counseling and testing (HCT) rates remain unacceptably low. One in three young women has a pregnancy by the age of 20. Alternative strategies should be explored in order to increase prevention and screening among high-risk adolescents.

Methods: The Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (DTHF) Youth Centre (YC) in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, offers integrated health, educational and recreational programmes in order to increase adolescent access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services (SRH). Participation is incentivised and clinic statistics tracked with a biometric data system. We compared HIV testing and contraception rates with data from a public clinic in Imizamo Yethu (IY), Cape Town, a community with similar demographics, to ascertain the impact of the YC on SRH and HCT utilisation rates for adolescents.

Results: In 2015, adolescent females under 18 had 3.74 times (3.37-4.15) more contraception visits at the YC than adolescents at IY clinic. There was no difference in the type of contraception used, with both populations favouring injectable methods. Adherence to contraception was sub-optimal, with the average YC female using contraception for 6.1 months/year. Youth at the YC were 1.85 times more likely to have HCT than youth in IY. This difference was greater in boys, with those aged between 15-24 3.83 times (3.04-4.81) are more likely to test. YC attendees were a third less likely to test HIV positive than their IY counterparts. Female sex, older age, clinic attendance for contraception and STI treatment, redeeming incentive points for rewards, and high Youth Centre attendance were all independent factors associated with increased HIV testing.

Interpretation: Adolescents from Masiphumelele were significantly more likely to access SRH and HCT services at the YC in comparison to the public clinic in Imizamo Yethu that has made adolescent friendly accommodations. The differences were most dramatic in contraception coverage for females under 18 and HIV testing rates in males. Lessons from the DTHF YC may be applied to clinics in order to increase adolescent health care utilisation rates.

Recognition and Redistribution: The state of the South African Women’s Movement 20 years after democratic transition

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 14 March, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Professor Amanda Gouws
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

This paper analyses the shift from a mass based women’s movement in the form of the Women’s National Coalition in South Africa to more localized temporal movements since political transition twenty years ago.  I will apply Nancy Fraser’s theory of recognition and redistribution to illustrate how two alliances – the Shukumisa campaign around gender based violence and the Alliance for Rural democracy around the Traditional Courts Bill meets the criteria of localized temporal movements that engage the state with the intention of recognizing identities and redistributing resources to promote gender equality.  I will compare these alliances with the actions of the ANC Women’s League.

Presenter biography:  Professor Amanda Gouws is Professor of Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa She holds a PhD from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign in the USA.  Her specialization is South African Politics and Gender Politics. Her research focuses on women and citizenship, the National Gender Machinery and representation.  She is the editor of (Un) Thinking Citizenship: Feminist Debates in Contemporary South Africa. (UK: Ashgate and Cape Town: Juta, 2005).  In 2007 she was the Edith Keeger Wolf Distinguished Visiting Professor at Northwestern University, USA.  In 2011 she was selected as a Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation Centre in Bellagio, Italy, where she was working on a book on the Women’s Movement in South Africa. In 2012 she received the Wilma Rule Award for the best paper at the International Political Science Association Conference in Madrid, Spain, in the category Gender and Politics with the title “Multiculturalism in South Africa: Dislodging the Binary between Universal Human Rights and Culture/Tradition”. Her edited book “Gender and Multiculturalism: North/South Perspectives” appeared with Routledge Press in 2014. She was a Commissioner for the South African Commission on Gender Equality from 2012-2014. She is currently a Distinguished Professor, holding a NRF Research Chair in Gender Politics.

 

Print media coverage of community protests in South Africa

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 17 May, 2016 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Dr Tanja Bosch, Dr Wallace Chuma & Prof Herman Wasserman (Centre for Film and Media Studies)
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Since the end of apartheid, there has been a steady increase in community protests in South Africa, as a result of growing citizen frustration and tensions.  High levels of unemployment, increasing inequality, shortages of housing, water and sanitation, electricity; corruption and municipal administration, health and crime, have all been listed as reasons for the protests, often described as a ‘rebellion of the poor’. The authors will present the findings of a quantitative content analysis, which explored the nature of mainstream print media coverage of the protests and offer reflections of how the protests are framed in relation to democracy. The community protests represent a form of bottom up resistance, raising issues of the politics of inclusion and exclusion. Moreover, the political realm is shaped by media coverage of the protests – when the media focuses only on violent protests, or frames protests as nothing more than a traffic disturbance – it shapes the nature of how these groups are given voice in mainstream media.

Contested notions of disablement and 'deservingness' in disability grant assessments in South Africa

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 10 May, 2016 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Gabby Kelly (CSSR)
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

This paper examines the interactions between doctors and claimants during assessments of medical eligibility for disability grants (DGs) in South Africa. Based on ethnographic work in clinics and hospitals, I show that disability assessments are sites of negotiation and contestation between doctors, claimants and the state over how social security rights should be allocated. Focusing on five cases of ‘resistance’, I show how disability as a social, medical and administrative category was socially and discursively constructed, (re-)defined and applied in ways that contradicted official policy. I argue that doctors’ divergence from rules and guidelines was driven by differences between the government’s bureaucratic framing of disability and the alternative frames doctors used for making sense of cases and thinking about disability, illness and employability in the South African context. Doctors’ framing of disability grant cases was shaped by their social and cultural backgrounds and dispositions, professional knowledge and values, as well as broader discursive framings of rights and social justice. Claimants also asserted their own subjective understandings of disability during assessments, using their agency to resist the objectifying process of disability categorisation and attempting to have their experiences of physical, social and financial suffering 'seen' and legitimised by the state. They used performances of disability, narratives of suffering, social pressure and threats of violence to manipulate or coerce doctors into recommending grants or to voice their frustration with perceived unjust treatment. This paper makes an original empirical contribution to the study of conceptions of disability as a category of the ‘deserving’ poor in a context of high poverty. It also highlights the influence of norms and values in the allocation of welfare rights at the street-level and demonstrates how the agency of both frontline workers and citizens can shape policy implementation. This provides useful insight into the ‘gap’ between policy and practice.

Unemployment in low-income, African female-headed households in Cape Town: House economies, survival strategies and support systems.

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 3 May, 2016 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Kirsty Button (CSSR)
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

In South Africa, research has shown that ‘black’, female-headed households are typically more financially vulnerable than male-headed households and other female-headed households. However, little is known about how financial and non-monetary resources are provided, controlled and used within these households, or about the relative emotional and financial wellbeing of different household members. Scholars have therefore argued for more nuanced understandings of the intra-household dynamics and household economies of female-headed households. Through the collection and analysis of qualitative data from two generations of household members in 14 female-headed households in Khayelitsha, my master’s thesis has aimed to contribute towards a better understanding of these issues. In presenting some of the research findings, it will be shown that the households in the sample were important sites of support and solidarity. However, the findings build upon existing understandings of low-income, multi-generational households in South Africa as also being sites of conflict and contestation. While resources were contributed and shared between household members, this support was neither guaranteed nor was it provided solely on the basis of an adherence to kinship obligations. Rather, the provision of support and the unequal burden of care experienced by different generations of household members was often the outcome of intergenerational negotiation. The older female participants struggled to maintain their authority in their households and negotiate for more financial and practical assistance from their younger household members. While they perceived that some of their co-resident adult children no longer cared for them, the younger participants expressed that their mothers did not understand the competing pressures placed on their financial resources. As a consequence, the provision of support and perceptions about their interpersonal relationships were framed by experiences of intergenerational conflict and feelings of ambivalence. The findings highlight experiences of inequality and shifting positions of power within the households in a context where broader economic conditions and the nature of state support has constrained how household members may choose to handle instances of negotiation and conflict.

Testing for Du Bois’s ‘Double Consciousness’ in Contemporary South Africa

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 26 April, 2016 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Professor Jeremy Seekings
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

This paper (written with colleagues from Cardiff University in the UK) provides what we think is the first empirical testing using experimental data of W.E.B. Du Bois’s classic theory of ‘double consciousness’ and ‘second sight’, and is certainly the first such test in South Africa.  Du Bois argued that black people in the USA were compelled to understand the mores and behaviours of white Americans in order to survive their subordination, whereas white Americans had no such need to understand the mores and behaviours of black Americans. Using the ‘Imitation Game’ experimental method (developed at Cardiff) with a large sample of UCT students, we tested the hypothesis that black South African university students are better able to understand the world of white South Africans than visa-versa. The results falsified the hypothesis. We then examined why Du Bois’ predictions do not hold among university students in South Africa. We conclude that the cultural fluidity and diversity experienced by black students undermines the ability of black students to distinguish between white students pretending to be black and genuine black students, whilst the deep-rooted cultural capital of white students allows them to distinguish black students pretending to be white from genuinely white students.

Divorce, families and emotion work

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 19 April, 2016 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Elena Moore (CSSR)
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

The seminar will focus on parental commitment to family life, after divorce, in contrast to its common perception as an irrevocable breaking up of the family unit, which is often perpetuated by representations from popular culture and the media. In the first detailed review of emotions and emotion work undertaken by divorced parents, the findings shed light on how parents manage feelings of guilt, fear, on-going anger and everyday unhappiness in the course of family life post-divorce. The author argues that the emotional dimension of divorce is shaped by societal and structural factors and requires parents to undertake considerable emotion work in the creation of new moral identities. The findings also point to the often gendered responsibilities for sustaining family lives post separation, and how these reflect extensive inequalities in family practices.  The author concludes that divorce is not dangerous for society; it is not a social evil or a demonstration of the rise of selfish individualism, and that divorcees remain committed to former partners and children long after divorce. 

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