CSSR General

Do electoral systems affect how citizens hold their government accountable?

18 April, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
Matthias Krönke, PhD Candidate University of Cape Town & Sarah J. Lockwood, PhD Candidate, Harvard University
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

This paper asks whether a country’s choice of electoral system affects the methods citizens use to try and hold their government accountable. A large body of literature suggests that electoral system type has an impact on voting behavior, but little work has been done so far looking at other forms of democratic accountability (contact and protest). Using Round 6 Afrobarometer data, combined with a new, author-created, dataset, we find that the type of electoral system does indeed have a significant impact on these other forms of participation. Citizens in PR systems are significantly more likely to protest when they are dissatisfied than those in majoritarian ones, while those in majoritarian systems are more likely to contact their elected representatives. We argue that this is because the connection between citizens and representatives in majoritarian systems is clearer, closer and more responsive, making contact an effective strategy and providing an efficient "safety valve" when citizens are dissatisfied. The lack of a similar connection in most PR systems, in contrast, leads citizens to turn to protest with greater regularity. We provide evidence to support this hypothesis, and also suggest some directions for future research.

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

4 April, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
Carole Uhlaner
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

28 March, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
A Mendelsohn, K Gill, R Marcus, D Robbertze, C Van De Venter, E Mendel, L Mzukwa, LG Bekker
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

14 March, 2017 - 12:45 to 14:00
Professor Amanda Gouws
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.


Do you know what Africans think? The Afrobarometer story

Do you know what Africans think? The Afrobarometer story                                                  

Dear colleagues and partners,

Do Africans even care about democracy? Do Africans want presidents for life? Do Africans only like their own ethnic group? Isn’t bribery just an accepted way of life in Africa? Do Africans believe in equal rights for women?
Our latest film tells the story of Afrobarometer, the world’s premier source of reliable data on public perceptions and attitudes across Africa. Visit this link to view >> 'The Afrobarometer story'.

The ambiguities of the ‘partnership’ between civil society and the state in Uganda’s AIDS response during the 1990s and 2000s as demonstrated in the development of TASO

Publication type: 
Journal article
Grebe E.
Author sort: 
Grebe E.
Global Public Health