Rebecca Hodes: In the thick of a Ugandan hate rally

Dr Rebecca Hodes, a CSSR postdoctoral research fellow, has written a report on a rally in Kampala at which 30 000 people gathered in support of the recently-passed Anti-Homosexuality Act.

“There is a fundamental misunderstanding between us and the liberal west. They say that homosexuality is sex. But it is not sex.” These were President Yoweri Museveni’s introductory remarks at the national rally in support of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, organised by the Interreligious Council of Uganda, and held at Kololo stadium on 31 March.

Museveni continued: “There are other words (in Luganda) for sex. I won’t tell you those words.” The crowd laughed, enjoying the coy omission. “But if you take homosexuality, they (the Ugandan people) don’t call it ‘sex’. They call it ekifire.” A neighbour wearing a Ugandan flag on her head translated: “It means they are half-dead, yet they are still living.”

Read the full report on Daily Maverick.

The Dynamics of Race and Inequality in the United States: Permeable Boundaries and Self-fulfilling Prophecies

Seminar
1 April, 2014 -
13:00 to 14:00
Aliya Saperstein (Stanford University)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29 Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Mounting evidence, both survey-based and experimental, demonstrates that perceptions of a person’s race in the USA change in response to myriad changes in social position. These findings suggest that individual-level racial fluidity serves to reinforce racial inequality by redefining successful or high-status people as white (or not black) and unsuccessful or low-status people as black (or not white). The basic patterns hold for both economic and non-economic outcomes, and across historical and contemporary periods – though they differ somewhat by gender. Taken together, the results provide a compelling, nationally representative demonstration of the social construction of race in the United States. They also raise new questions about how stereotypes shape the way we see race, in the most literal sense, and thus how we see and understand inequality -- which has implications for understanding racialized disparities around the world.

 

Does De-Industrialisation cause Social Polarisation in Global Cities? :A study of greater Johannesburg

Seminar
25 March, 2014 -
13:00 to 14:00
Owen Crankshaw and Jacqueline Borel-Saladin
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29 Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

The social polarisation hypothesis argues that de-industrialisation causes the polarisation of the occupational structure, which in turn causes the income polarisation of the employed workforce of global cities. A central argument is that social polarisation occurs because the service sector is more polarised in occupational and income terms than the manufacturing sector that it replaces. However, the results of many studies suggest that de-industrialisation has not resulted in social polarisation. Instead, de-industrialisation has produced a professionalised occupational structure alongside high levels of unemployment. The results of this study of the Johannesburg region confirm that de-industrialisation results in professionalisation rather than polarisation. We then proceed to examine this outcome by analysing the statistical relationship between economic restructuring and the changing occupational structure. Our results suggest that changes in the overall occupational structure were caused by changes within each economic sector rather than by the growth of service sector employment and the decline of manufacturing sector employment.

South Africa's system of dispute resolution forums: The role of the family and the state in customary marriage dissolution

Seminar
18 March, 2014 -
13:00 to 14:00
Kirsty Button (Masters student, Sociology)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29 Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

In being a legal pluralist state, South Africa has a system of state and customary dispute resolution forums. This paper is concerned with this system of dispute resolution forums, particularly in how marital disputes relating to the dissolution of customary marriages are mediated and resolved. It is demonstrated, through drawing upon data collected for the purposes of a larger research project, that there are serious shortcomings which exist within this system. Such shortcomings include the operation of structural constraints which limit women in their ability to access state dispute resolution forums for support in marital breakdown and the availability of some customary dispute resolution forums which appear to be under-utilised by couples experiencing marital breakdown. Another possible shortcoming within the abovementioned system is the insufficient assistance that is offered by the state, to married couples experiencing marital conflict and breakdown. The paper argues that these shortcomings prevent equitable outcomes in marital conflict and breakdown from being reached. Consequently, such shortcomings contribute to women being rendered economically vulnerable upon the dissolution of their customary marriages as they are often left to deal with marital conflict and breakdown in the context of unequal power relations which exist between spouses. The paper concludes by discussing possible solutions that could be adopted to rectify the shortcomings and help ensure that gender equality is achieved upon the dissolution of customary marriages

Variations in women's participation: An Eastern Cape case study

Seminar
11 March, 2014 -
13:00 to 14:00
Kem Okecha (PhD student, Sociology, UCT)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29 Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

The study accounts for women's political participation in the Eastern Cape towns of Ginsberg, Zwelitsha and Dimbaza in the 1980s. This period is deemed significant given the marked growth in grassroots movements and civic associations, the emerging political consciousness of local women in various parts of the country and the related increase in collective action among groups of women.  It outlines the roles of women within the civics, churches and community-based organisations such as the stokvels and manyano. The on-going study also explores the grievances of women in these areas during this period, the ways in which these were addressed and the women centered organisations that were developed. In addition, the similarities and differences in women's activism in all three towns is addressed. It is also acknowledged that in these parts of the Eastern Cape, although very few women’s organisations were formed as separate and autonomous structures during the 1980s, women played pivotal roles in the struggle. While the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) of the 1970s heavily influenced the political consciousness of women in Ginsberg Township, union activism formed a central component of women’s engagement and political resistance in Dimbaza. In Zwelitsha, women relied on the collective unity of the women’s manyano and welfare organisations, while the fear of police surveillance intimidation meant that although they were deeply discontented and politically conscious, they were somewhat restrained in their organisation.

Workshop on social protection in Africa

The CSSR is hosting a workshop on Thursday and Friday, 29th/30th May 2014, on social protection in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa. We anticipate panels organized around the following themes:

  • History of welfare policy in South Africa
  • Street-level bureaucrats and the administration of welfare programmes
  • Pensions, grants and ‘community’ politics
  • The politics of pilot programmes in Southern and East Africa
  • The national politics of policy-making

In addition to the panels, we anticipate also two ‘plenary’ talks. One will be given by Professor Sarah Brooks of Ohio State University, on the comparative politics of conditional cash transfers. Professor Brooks is the author of Social Protection and the Market in Latin America (Cambridge UP, 2009).

Vacancy: Afrobarometer Data Quality Officer

The Afrobarometer is an independent, non-partisan research project that measures the social, political and economic atmosphere in Africa through a series of public attitude surveys (see the Afrobarometer website). The CSSR’s Democracy in Africa Research Unit (DARU) is a support unit within the Afrobarometer Network and is seeking to make a full-time, 2 year contract appointment of a Data Quality Officer to build capacity within the Afrobarometer research network. For further details of this job opportunity, please download attached job advertisement here.

Symposium on African Public Opinon

To mark the end of the CSSR-Afrobaromeer Summer School, a symposium was held on the morning of Friday 7 February 2014. The symposium was opened by UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo. Papers were presented by a selection of by members of the Afrobarometer Executive Committee as well as the prize-winning participant in the 2014 Summer School. Presentations covered topics such as the historical roots of variation in trust across Africa, the implications of mobile phones for citizenship, and the relatonship between atttudes to tradtional leaders and atttudes to local government.

CSSR-Afrobarometer Summer School

The second joint CSSR/Afrobarometer Anglophone Summer School was held at UCT from 13 January to 7 February. The four-week summer school consisted of five two-week modules in substantive subjects relevant to the Afrobarometer Project in the broad areas of democracy, governance and public policy as well as two four-week modules in research design and social statistics. This year’s summer school instructors included Professor Robert Mattes, Professor Jeremy Seekings, Professor Rajen Govender and Dr Pedro Wolf of the Centre for Social Science Research as well as Professor Gyimah-Boadi, Professor Michael Bratton and Dr Boniface Dulani of the Afrobarometer Network. A total of 30 participants from 18 African countries participated. Participants presented ther reserach papers on the fnal day of the School. The Summer School comprises two UCT-registered courses, at Honours and Masters levels; partcipants had the option of registering for these courses.

In Memoriam: Joel Barkan

Joel Barkan tragically passed away on 10 January 2014.  He was on a family vacation in Mexico City with his wife Sandra, son and daughter-in-law, where he suffered a pulmonary embolism. 

Joel was one of the leading scholars of African politics.  He was the author of five books, including Beyond Capitalism Versus Socialism in Kenya and Tanzania (1995) and most recently Legislative Power in Emerging African Democracies (2009), and contributed pieces to many of the discipline’s leading journals such as the American Political Science Review (1987, 1976), World Politics (1989), Democratization, (2000), Foreign Affairs (2004, 1998), Journal of Democracy (2012, 2008, 1998, 1995, 1993) and Journal of Modern African Studies (1991, 1989).

Joel’s scholarship linked the first generation of American scholars who applied the new methods of political science to the systematic study of Africa’s newly independent states, like his mentor Joseph Coleman, and the most recent cohort of Africanists who regularly use survey and experimental research.  Joel was one of the very first scholars to carry out a representative survey of African citizens (as well as of local elites and members of parliament), in his seminal analysis of the role Kenyan MPs played in linking rural, peripheral communities to the political centre (published with Chong Lim Kim, Ilter Turan and Malcolm  Jewell as The Legislative Connection: The Politics of Representation in Kenya, Korea and Turkey).  At the time of his death, he was working with us to complete the African Legislatures Project, a comparative study of 17 African legislatures that used direct observation, key informant interviews, and mass and elite surveys.  This project represented the culmination of his life’s work. 

National Research Foundation Chair in Customary Marriage

On 11th and 12th February, the National Research Foundation Chair in Customary Law at UCT*, Prof. Chuma Himonga, in collaboration with Dr. Elena Moore and the National Movement of Rural Women, hosted a workshop on the findings of a study on The Operation of the Recognition of Customary Marriages Act (RCMA) and Rules of Intestate Succession in the Constitutional Court decision in Bhe v Magistrate Khayelitsha. The Dean of the Law Faculty, Professor Pamela Schwikkard, opened the workshop.

Imitation games: Interactional Expertise and Comparative Research

Seminar
26 February, 2014 -
13:00 to 14:00
Martin Weinel & Rob Evans (University of Cardiff, UK)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29 Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

The Imitation Game is a new sociological method. It can be used to measure the extent to which different social groups understand each other and provides a new topography of social integration. In this talk, we will outline the theory behind the method and illustrate its application with examples drawn from studies investigating religion, gender, race and sexuality.

 

A Better Life For All? Democratization and Electrification in Post-Apartheid South Africa.

Seminar
20 February, 2014 -
13:00 to 14:00
Joachim Wehner co-authored with Verena Kroth and Valentino Larcinese (LSE, UK)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29 Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

 

Does democracy affect the delivery of essential basic services? And if yes, which elements of democracy trigger changes in implemented policies: enfranchisement, the liberalization of political organization, or both? In 1994, 19 million South Africans gained the right to vote. The ANC promised “a better life for all” including improved household access to electricity. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we exploit heterogeneity in the share of newly enfranchised voters across municipalities to evaluate how franchise extension affected household electrification. Our dataset combines geo-referenced nightlight satellite imagery, 1996 and 2001 census data, and 1995/6 municipal election results. Enfranchisement has a significant positive effect on electrification, but the liberalization of political organization matters, too. Our analysis highlights the potential mediating role of political parties in accounting for service delivery patterns in new democracies.

 

NUMSA considers united fronts

Last week the National Union of Metalworkers (NUMSA) - now South Africa's largest trade union - considered the experience of "united fronts" as part of its week-long "Political School" for shop stewards and organisers. NUMSA has made waves by ending its formal support for the ANC, calling on COSATU to end its alliance with the ANC, proposing the formation of a worker's party and/or a united front of unions and community-based organisations committed to progressive change. CSSR Director Jeremy Seekings spoke at the NUMSA School on the experiences of the "UDF" , drawing on his book on The UDF: A History of the United Democratic Front in South Africa, 1983-1991 (published in 2000).

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