Recent and upcoming events

The Social Consequences of Class Formation among Black South Africans in the 2000s: Evidence from the South African Reconciliation Barometer

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Jeremy Seekings
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

I examine whether the African elite and middle classes have distinctive social attitudes, relative to poorer or lower class African people, and whether this has changed over the 2000s, in order to understand better how the rapid growth of the African middle classes affects social and political life in post-apartheid South Africa. The chapter uses survey data (from the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation’s South African Reconciliation Barometer) to show that the African middle classes assess much more positively than the poor the economic changes that have taken place in post-apartheid South Africa, and that this differential has grown over time. The middle classes are aware of their privilege, but seem to underestimate the challenges facing the poor. They are also more positive about improved inter-racial relations since 1994, perhaps because they enjoy very much more inter-racial interaction than do the poor. In terms of public policy, the middle classes support more strongly affirmative action, but are also more likely to say that the government does too much for people and probably see less need for active policies around employment creation. Overall, the growth of the African middle classes seems to be good for race relations but reduces the likelihood of pro-poor policies to challenge inequalities of class.

 

The Political Economy of Social Protection in Latin America

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

The recent expansion of budget-financed antipoverty transfer programmes in Latin America reflects a shift away from the stratified, Bismarckian, social protection institutions which dominated social policy in the 20th century. The inclusion of low income and informal groups through emerging social assistance institutions has been largely vertical, as opposed to horizontal, leading to parallel institutions supporting formal and informal groups. The paper discusses the main trends and considers the political sustainability of dual institutions in the region. 

 

 Armando Barrientos is Professor and Research Director at the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester in the UK. His research focuses on the linkages existing between welfare programmes and labour markets in developing countries, and on policies addressing poverty and population ageing. His most recent books are ‘Social Protection for the Poor and Poorest’ (2008, edited with D. Hulme, Palgrave); ‘Just Give Money to the Poor’ (2010, with J. Hanlon and D. Hulme, Kumarian Press); ‘Demographics, Employment and Old Age Security: Emerging Trends and Challenges in South Asia’ (2010, edited with Moneer Alam, MacMillan), and ‘Social Assistance in Developing Countries’ (2013, Cambridge University Press).

A Resilience Focused Family Intervention Addressing Intersections of HIV Risk and Poor Mental Health

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 3 February, 2015 - 12:45 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Caroline Kuo, DPhil, MPhil
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

 

 

 

Early adolescents (13-15 years) are an ideal target for preventive interventions targeting healthy sexual and mental behaviors. Engaging families in adolescent prevention is developmentally appropriate for early adolescents (13-15 years). However, few family-based adolescent HIV interventions have been empirically tested in South Africa and few HIV interventions take an integrated HIV-mental health approach.

We describe a set of preliminary studies in South Africa and the existing literature documented the intersections between poor mental health and HIV risk. We then describe preliminary qualitative work conducted to inform the design of a resilience-focused family preventive intervention targeting prevention of adolescent HIV risk and depression. This intervention is derived from the integration and adaptation of two existing best-evidence models for HIV risk reduction and prevention of depression. Adaptation needs were assessed utilizing k=8 focus groups with Xhosa-speaking mixed gender adolescents and parents or guardians and n=25 interviews with HIV and mental health experts. Qualitative data were recorded, transcribed verbatim, translated from Xhosa to English, and analyzed in NVivo using a thematic analysis. Respondents identified social and contextual challenges for HIV prevention including age disparate sexual relationships driven by economic needs, adolescent gang violence, and sexual violence. Respondents described aspects of family interactions that presented both challenges and opportunities for family-based adolescent HIV prevention. Parent-child communication on mental health and sexual topics were taboo, with these conversations perceived as an invitation for children to engage in HIV risk behavior. Parents experienced social sanctions for discussing sex and animosity towards children who asked about sex. However, respondents also identified unique cultural conceptions of family resilience that could be leveraged to increase intervention engagement, including family meetings and communal parenting. Qualitative findings guided alteration of existing intervention content, and the addition of new content, topics, and delivery modalities for South Africa. This included a strengthened emphasis on family resilience; how mental health affects sexual decision making; parental monitoring, positive parenting; and building efficacy around parent-adolescent communication on the topics of sex and mental health are important target foci for a family-based intervention. The adapted family intervention will be tested in a randomized pilot trial in 2015-2016.

Does raising maize yields lead to poverty reduction? A case study of the Massive Food Production Programme in South Africa

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 18 November, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Flora Hajdu (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences)
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building.
Abstract / Description: 

Flora Hajdu presents results from a recent research project on the effects on smallholders of the MFPP and AsgiSA agricultural development programmes in the Eastern Cape. The project resulted in two papers as well as a PhD thesis entitled “From Betterment to Bt maize: “Agricultural Development and the introduction of Genetically Modified Maize to South African Smallholders” by Klara Jacobson. This presentation will focus on a paper on poverty-related aspects, where we show that the poorer smallholders faced various difficulties in securing benefits from these programmes. The one-dimensional view of the programmes of ‘raising effectiveness’ in smallholder agriculture through raising yields is questioned. Furthermore, smallholders are shown to barely have noticed the insect resistance of the GM maize - instead other properties of the ‘new maize’, which could equally well be found in much cheaper hybrid or open pollinated varieties of maize, were important to the poor.

Flora will also talk briefly about her current plans to seek funding from Sweden for researching the potential of cash transfers in South Africa.

Anything to stay alive: the challenges of a campaign for an experimental drug

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 21 October, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Nathan Geffen
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Prevalence of drug-resistant TB is increasing. Treatment regimens have to be taken, typically, for two years and have poor outcomes. Most second-line TB medicines have poor evidence to support their use and are associated with terrible side effects. In 2010, no new class of TB drug had been approved in several decades. Based on the historical examples of campaigns for HIV medicines in the 1980s and 1990s in Europe and the US, the Global TB Community Advisory Board, TAC and other organisations began campaigning for pre-regulatory approval access to an experimental drug called bedaquiline. I will discuss the complex scientific and ethical challenges brought to the fore by this campaign

The Koup Fencing Project: Community-led Job Creation in the Karoo

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 7 October, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Nicoli Nattrass, Beatrice Conradie and Inge Conradie
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building.
Abstract / Description: 

This paper discusses a community-led fencing project in the Koup, an arid predominantly sheep farming district in the South African Karoo. It highlights the role of supportive government officials in sourcing funding and the importance of committed individuals in overcoming collective action problems amongst participating farmers. The project had a strong empowerment dimension in that fencing team leaders were drawn from the ranks of unemployed people in Laingsburg town and they were responsible for recruitment into the project and for the day to day management of the work. Comparative analysis of the socio-economic position of the fence workers with data from the 2011 population census for coloured people living in Laingsburg town suggests that the fence workers were relatively poor and that the project was appropriately targeted for a poverty alleviation programme. This was in part because workers were required to camp on farms for two weeks at a time, thereby resulting in the project automatically selecting for those most committed to earning additional income. The study revealed that the fencing workers identified themselves as general agricultural workers but had skills and experience from other sectors including construction and services. Urban-based agricultural work has existed in Laingsburg for at least three decades i.e. that it preceded the shift of workers off farms that took place across South Africa after 1990. The study sheds light this long-standing, but under-studied dimension of urban poverty and on the diverse strategies (including reliance on government grants) that people use to combat it in the Karoo

Are African welfare states different? The design and politics of Anglophone African welfare state-building in comparative perspective

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 26 August, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Professor Jeremy Seekings
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building.
Abstract / Description: 

Welfare regimes in Anglophone Africa were in the final phase of colonial rule and the first phase of post-colonial rule characterised by an agrarian approach, focused on preserving or strengthening the peasantry. These later gave way to an approach focused on non-contributory transfers of cash (or food) to the deserving poor through social assistance, food aid and public employment programmes. Social insurance, focused on workers, played a marginal role. This paper first examines the distinctiveness of these welfare regimes in a comparative perspective, and then examines the politics of welfare-state-building through a series of country case-studies. The case of Mauritius reveals the obstacles to adopting social insurance. The case of Zambia reveals the obstacles to adopting social assistance. The cases of Zimbabwe and Malawi reveal how and why democratisation might matter.

Why Some Muslim Countries are Democracies and Some are Not

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 19 August, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Shaheen Mozaffar Professor of Political Science Bridgewater State University and Research Fellow Centre for Social Science Research,UCT.
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building.
Abstract / Description: 

This presentation examines the argument that the relationship between democracy and Islam, and between democracy and religion more broadly, is a contingent relationship. The contingency derives from variations in (a) the salience of religion as a basis of social cleavage relative to the salience of other bases of social cleavages (e.g. class, ethnicity, race, region, language), and (b) the multifaceted ways in which religion becomes institutionalized in politics and governance. These variations suggest four possible outcomes: (1) High institutionalization of religion, independent of social cleavage patterns, will endanger democracy. (2) High institutionalization combined with high social salience of religion at the expense of other sources of social cleavage will weaken the prospects of democracy. (3) Moderate institutionalization of religion combined with cross-cutting social ethnic, language and religious fractionalization will facilitate democracy. (4) Low institutionalization and low social salience of religion reinforced by cross-cutting social cleavages will strengthen democracy.

Very Long Engagements: Legal Consciousness and the Persistent Authority of Bridewealth in a South African Community

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 12 August, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Michael W. Yarbrough, John Jay College (CUNY)
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building.
Abstract / Description: 

 

The most important practice through which marriages are constituted in many African communities in South Africa today is ilobolo, often translated as bridewealth. Meanwhile, marriage rates in such communities are sharply declining, and many locals view ilobolo as a key contributor to this collapse. Through intensive ethnographic research in a quasi-rural KwaZulu-Natal community, this article explores the puzzle of how ilobolo maintains its authority over marriage even as many today see it as preventing more marriages than it produces. Drawing on the concepts of legal consciousness scholarship, I argue that the contemporary practice of ilobolo often enacts multiple, even contradictory understandings of marriage. But rather than undermining support for ilobolo, these diverse meanings actually help shore up its support by providing multiple legitimating narratives of the practice suited to varying social positions in a context of ideological, legal, political, and economic change. In particular, I argue that orthodox "affinal" understandings framing ilobolo as a practice for bringing two extended families together in marriage are increasingly supplemented by less explicitly recognized "conjugal" understandings framing ilobolo as a practice that helps produce marriage as a dyadic, intimate, and even egalitarian union of two individuals.

South Africa’s Emerging Black Middle Class: A Harbinger of Change?

Event type: 
Seminar
Date and time: 
Tuesday, 5 August, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Presenter(s): 
Professor Robert Mattes
Venue: 
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building.
Abstract / Description: 

In this article I explore whether members of South Africa's emerging black middle class exhibit different political values,evaluations, and behaviours than the other black citizens. Futhermore, I explore whether the impact of class is due to physiological security or higher levels of education, as well as whether the impact of either of these markers of class are greater for yournger middle class blacks who have grown up under conditions of abundance or with higher education. I find that the attitudinal consequences of indicators of the middle class are inconsistent and sometimes contradictory. There is little evidence that the emerging black middle class is either more or less loyal to the governing ANC,though they are more positive in their evaluations of government action. The are signs however, that they are less likely to take part in a range of campaign, and inter-election democratic activities.

 

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