Recent and upcoming events

Without state nor status - exploring undocumented migrant children’s experiences in Cape Town

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 2 June, 2015 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Lena Opfermann (Visiting PhD student in the CSSR, from the University of York in the UK)
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

This presentation reflects on preliminary findings of a drama-based research project that explored the experiences and perceptions of undocumented migrant children living in Cape Town. Participants’ recurring references to discrimination, xenophobia, crime and loneliness show that their lack of a legal status specifically as well as their foreign nationality more generally affect their daily lives in practical and emotional terms. Participants’ enacted performances display notions of vulnerability and victimhood on the one hand and agency on the other hand. I interrogate how state actors, civil society and academic discourses instrumentalize these contrasting notions for their own purposes in an attempt to either enhance or restrict migrant children’s status in society. I conclude by arguing that neither the children’s actual nor attributed agency is sufficient to transform their status if they live in a state that does not recognize their presence. 

 

Lena is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Applied Human Rights, University of York (UK), and currently a visiting student at the Centre for Social Science Research at UCT. Her PhD explores the experiences of unaccompanied and undocumented migrant children in Cape Town through a theatre-based methodology. Lena has a background in International Humanitarian Action (MA) from the University of Uppsala (Sweden) and in Cultural Sciences (BA) from the European University Viadrina (Germany). Prior to her PhD she worked for several years in the protection of refugees and migrants in South Africa, Ecuador and Angola. From 2008 to 2011 she led the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town’s advocacy programme with a particular focus on advocating for the rights of unaccompanied foreign children, disabled refugees and persons affected by xenophobic violence. 

Migrant Organising and Civic Agency

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 12 May, 2015 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Leah Mundell
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

 

This project is an engaged research collaboration with the Scalabrini Centre of Cape Town, a refugee services organization. In November of 2014, Scalabrini Centre launched a new initiative to build a Women’s Platform, a network of refugee, immigrant, and South African women’s community groups that would provide mutual support, training, and networking opportunities. Seven nationality groups currently participate in the platform, coming together across differences in migration status, religion, socio-economic class, and language to fight the isolation often caused by migration and eventually to support the development of small businesses and social entrepreneurship. My still ongoing qualitative research with the Women’s Platform examines the factors leading women to engage in such organizing structures, the cultural specificity of their engagement, and the habits and practices that make particular support strategies successful. I am particularly interested in how civil society organizations can successfully engage with migrants as agents of change rather than recipients of services. Here, I attempt to anticipate challenges that may arise as the group moves from primarily social support into micro-finance and entrepreneurship. Critics of micro-finance organizations have argued that such structures may commoditize women’s social relationships in ways that jeopardize their effectiveness in providing social support. How might the Women’s Platform be building the trust, collaboration, and leadership necessary to make that transition successfully?

Leah Mundell is currently a visiting scholar at the Centre for Social Science Research of the University of Cape Town. She is an instructor in the First Year Seminar Program at Northern Arizona University and until recently was Director of Organizing for the Northern Arizona Interfaith Council, a broad-based community organization working for social change on issues such as immigration and public education. She received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2003.

The Land Occupation as a Tactic: Community Organisation and Contentious Politics in the Marikana Informal Settlement, Cape Town

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 5 May, 2015 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Rayner Teo
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

What makes a successful land occupation? Marikana informal settlement is the largest new land occupation in Cape Town since Siqalo (2012), and it is probably there to stay. In this ongoing research, I document the emergence of community organising in Marikana, as well as the political opportunities that have facilitated the land occupation—particularly the role of the newly-formed Ses'khona People's Rights Movement. Guided by perspectives from social movement theory, I conceptualise land occupation as a tactic within the repertoire of contentious politics in South Africa. I then build a case for considering the poor in South Africa as a social movement that employs a large and varied repertoire of contention, including the land occupation

Rayner is a research master's student in the Sociology department. He is studying collective action, contentious politics, and social movement organisations in South Africa. His dissertation work focuses on the Marikana land occupation in Cape Town. His work is funded by the Fox Fellowship from Yale University, and the CSSR.

Interrogating health coverage in Africa

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 28 April, 2015 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Nicoli Nattrass/Danielle Pagano
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

 

The International Labour Organisation has recently released data on 'health care coverage'.  We interrogate this variable by examining the sources for the estimates, and by exploring whether it is correlated with key outcomes, notably the percentage of poor women who give birth with health professionals in attendance.  We find that the ILO's new measures of legal coverage and deficits pertaining to health care workers are predictors of pro-poor outcomes in Africa. However we are concerned that the estimate of legal coverage is misleading in many cases.

Technocrats, Elections and Social Protection in Ghana

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 21 April, 2015 - 12:45
Presenter(s): 
Eduard Grebe
Venue: 
Rm 4.29, Leslie Social Science
Abstract / Description: 

During the 2000s, Ghana introduced substantial social protection policy reforms. These included reform of the contributory pensions system from a single statutory defined-benefit scheme and a colonial-era defined benefit scheme for civil servants (the former introduced and the latter closed to new entrants in 1992) to a new three-tier system with mandatory and voluntary privately-administered schemes augmenting the SSNIT. A new contributory national health insurance scheme was introduced in 2003 and several forms of social assistance targeted at the (largely rural) poor, including a school feeding programme, ‘capitation grants’ to expand free primary education and the flagship Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) cash transfer scheme. All of these reforms were initiated under the right-of-centre Kufuor/New Patriotic Party administration, who had won the 2000 elections and unseated Jerry Rawlings’ National Democratic Convention which had been in power since democratisation in 1992. The NDC returned to power in 2008 and has continued the implementation NPP-introduced reforms and with broadly similar economic and social protection policy. Given Ghana’s experience with poor performance during statist experiments under military rule and the return to sustained economic growth after painful ‘structural adjustment’ reforms in the 1980s, the broad cross-party consensus on macroeconomic policy is not surprising. What requires more explanation is how and why Ghana opted for an unusually contributory social insurance-oriented social protection policy framework augmented by various forms of social assistance and a (relatively parsimonious and small, but largely domestically-funded) conditional cash transfer scheme – and that this policy path too enjoyed broad consensus. It introduced cash transfers earlier than many African countries and in a less donor-driven fashion, despite early resistance from some parts of the polity to handouts’. However, despite highly-competitive elections with two dominant parties, neither party appears to have seized a populist social assistance agenda (for example, broad expansion of LEAP or universal social pensions) in order to attract poor rural voters, the urban poor is largely left out of the social protection system, and the LEAP programme has remained small under the rule of both parties. This paper examines the ‘technocratic’ agenda (among both donors and bureaucrats) and the political/ideological agendas as well as electoral incentives on politicians in an attempt to help explain the path of Ghanaian social protection policy reform since 2000.

Men, Masculinity and HIV Care Work in Cape Town

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 14 April, 2015 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Lesley Gittings
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Caring is typically constructed as a feminized practice, resulting in women shouldering the burden of care-related work. Health-seeking behaviours are also constructed as feminine and men have poorer health outcomes globally. Employing men as carers may not only improve the health of the men they assist but also be transformative with regard to gendered constructions of caring.

Using semi-structured interviews and observational home visits, this study explores the gendered dimensions of relationships between community care workers (CCWs) and male clients. The empirical analysis draws on the perspectives of eight CCWs and three of their male clients from the Cape Town area.

The interviews reveal that CCWs and clients perform and negotiate masculinities as they navigate around hegemonic masculine norms which require men to act tough, suppress emotion and deny weakness and sickness. They bump up against these ideals of what it means to be a man as they strive to provide care and receive support. In an attempt to avoid rupturing hegemonic masculine norms, CCWs use techniques such as indirectly broaching sensitive subjects, acting friendly and being clear about the intention of their work.

Lesley recently submitted her Masters dissertation to meet the requirements for the degree of MPhil in Public Policy and Administration at the University of Cape Town. Her research focused on masculinities and HIV community care work.

Between 2007 and 2011 Lesley worked as a policy analyst with the Canadian government and chaired the board of a community-based HIV organization. Following this, she worked in the Malawian HIV sector where she supported policy advocacy activities and managed an income-generating sanitary pad project.

Her research interest includes governance, gender and sexual and reproductive health. Lesley holds a BComm (Honours) from the University of Ottawa in Canada.

The Double Misperception? Public Expectations and MP Orientations to Legislative Roles in Africa

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 7 April, 2015 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Robert Mattes
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

 

Most analysts of African politics claim that the relationship between citizens and elected representatives is not one of principals and agents, but rather one of clients and patrons.  I provide an initial interrogation of this common wisdom with data from the African Legislatures Project, describing across 17 countries how members of parliament understand their own roles, and what African citizens expect from their MPs.  Neither MP role orientations nor citizen expectations neatly conform to the common wisdom.  There is a great deal of variation across the continent, and much of it has to do with electoral system design.  Single member constituencies, particularly, provide a range of interesting dynamics that produce surprising gaps between what citizens want and what their MPs do.

Families and the State: National, International and Transnational Perspectives

Event type: 
Conference
Date and time: 
Thursday, 26 March, 2015 - 09:15 to Friday, 27 March, 2015 - 09:15
Presenter(s): 
Key Note Presenter: Lynn Jamieson Discussants: Debbie Budlender ,Prof. Nhlapo,Ariane de Lannoy,Leah Mundell
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

The Centre for Social Science Research is hosting a two-day symposium on the relationship and interaction between the diversity of families and households, on the one hand, and the institutions and policies of the state, on the other. The symposium will include four sessions. Each session will examine a specific issue and engage with claims about the benefits and harms of state actions for specific individuals and families such as vulnerable children, female headed households, transnational families and individuals in customary marriages. The symposium aims to engage with scholars and policy makers on a discussion that analyses how and whether state policies and laws are supporting families. A distinguished global scholar, Prof. Lynn Jamieson (University of Edinburgh and Director of Centre for Research on Families and Relationships), will present at a plenary session. The symposium will launch the official opening of FaSRU (the Families and Societies Research Unit) within the CSSR and act as the symposium of the ‘The functioning and consequences of transnational child raising arrangements in South and North: Angolan, Nigerian and Ghanaian migrant parents living in South Africa and The Netherlands (TCRA-SAN)’ project, a collaboration between the CSSR and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at Maastricht University, The Netherlands.

 

Symposium programme [PDF]

Sex and secrecy: knowledge of HIV status, disclosure and sexual practices among HIV-positive adolescents in South Africa

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 24 March, 2015 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Rebecca Hodes (AIDS and Society Research Unit, Centre for Social Science Research, UCT) and Elona Toska (Social Policy and Intervention, Oxford University)
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

HIV-positive adolescents who engage in unsafe sex are at heightened risk for transmitting or re-acquiring HIV. Disclosure of HIV-status to sexual partners may impact on condom use, but no large-scale, mixed methods studies have explored the effects of adolescent knowledge of one’s HIV status, knowledge of partner status, and disclosure to partners on safer sex. This study aimed to identify whether knowledge of HIV-status by HIV-positive adolescents and partners was associated with safer sex. 684 HIV-positive adolescents who had ever initiated ART in 39 health facilities in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, were interviewed using standardised questionnaires. Quantitative analyses used multivariate logistic regressions, controlling for confounders. Qualitative research included interviews, focus group discussions and observations with 43 HIV-positive teenagers, and their caregivers and healthcare workers. Knowledge of HIV-status among HIV-positive adolescents was associated with safer sexual practices, but knowing partner’s status and disclosure of HIV-positive status to sexual partners were not. These findings challenge assumptions that disclosure is automatically protective in sexual and romantic relationships for HIV-positive adolescents.

Does the African Middle Class Defend Democracy? Evidence from Kenya

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 17 March, 2015 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Nic Cheeseman
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Barrington Moore’s famous line “no bourgeoisie, no democracy” is one of the most quoted claims in political science. But has the rise of the African middle class promoted democratic consolidation? This paper uses the case of Kenya to investigate the attitudes and behaviors of the middle class. Analysis of Afrobarometer survey data reveals that the middle class is more likely to hold pro-democratic attitudes. This suggests that Moore’s argument deserves to be taken seriously, at least in some African countries, and that contemporary demographic changes will improve the prospects for democratic consolidation. However, qualitative evidence from the Kenyan 2013 general election raises important questions about the resilience of these attitudes. The middle class may be more inclined to democratic attitudes than their less well off counterparts, but class continues to intersect with ethnicity and its political salience is likely to wax and wane as a result.

 Nic Cheeseman is an Associate Professor of African Politics at Oxford University and the co-editor of African Affairs. His research addresses a range of questions such as whether populism is an effective strategy of political mobilization in Africa, how paying tax changes citizens’ attitudes towards democracy and corruption, and the conditions under which ruling parties lose power. In addition to a number of book chapters and articles, he has published two co-edited collections: Our Turn To Eat (2010), which covers the politics of Kenya since independence, and The Handbook of African Politics (2013). A monograph, Democracy in Africa, has just been published by Cambridge University Press and a second book, How to Rig An Election, is currently under contract with Yale. Nic is also an advisor to a number of policy makers including the Cabinet Office, Foreign Office, and the Department for International Development of the UK government, the Instituto Rio Branco of the Brazilian government, the Lagos State Government, and the African Progress Panel

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