Why Some Muslim Countries are Democracies and Some are Not

Seminar
19 August, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Shaheen Mozaffar Professor of Political Science Bridgewater State University and Research Fellow Centre for Social Science Research,UCT.
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

Seminar
12 August, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Michael W. Yarbrough, John Jay College (CUNY)
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.

Sihle goes to Washington DC

Sihle Nontshokweni was selected for the South African Washington International Program (SAWIP). Sihle is a a research assistant in DARU in the CSSR. SAWIP is a 7 month program of personal and professional development aimed at developing future generations of leaders in a post conflict South Africa. 18 students have been selected for the class of 2014 from four universities (UCT, UWC, Stellenbosch and the University of Pretoria). The program is made of three core elements. The first is leadership development; this is experienced over a seven month leadership curriculum both in South Africa and in Washington DC. The second being community engagement, which is expressed through individual and team projects. The third being professional exposure which is expressed through a six week work exposure in prestigious placements such as the World Bank, Capitol Hill, USADF etc. Sihle worked at a health consulting firm, called John Snow Incop (JSI). Whilst at John Snow, she worked on the Presidents Young Professionals Program for Young Liberians (PYPP). This is Sirleaf Ellen Johnson’s signature move to build the next generation of civil servants in Liberia. In the 5 weeks she managed to organise a panel discussion with all the young Liberians on the Mandela-Washington Fellowship in DC, released two press releases and several spotlights which were used towards the development of the PYPP website.

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

Seminar
5 August, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Professor Robert Mattes
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.

 

Making New Metaphors for AIDS

Seminar
22 July, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Gerry Kearns
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Metaphors may be harmful or helpful, but they are probably inevitable where people wish to draw attention to social or medical issues. In this paper, I discuss the role of metaphor within epidemiology, and the work of artists and cultural activists both in challenging and crafting alternative metaphors about HIV/AIDS.

 

Two new PhD graduates

Congratulations to Drs Singumbe Muyeba and Annabelle Wienand, who graduated with PhDs at UCT on 13th June 2014. Annabelle's PhD examines representations of AIDS in South African photography. Singumbe's PhD examines the effects of property ownership on poverty in Cape Town (South Africa) and Lusaka (Zambia), using both quantitative and qualitative data.

Dr Annabelle Wienand (right), with her supvisor, Prof Nicoli Nattrass (centre) and CSSR Director, Prof Jeremy Seekings.

A PhD, a book, and a UCT book award for ASRU

Annabelle Wienand, Nicoli Nattrass and Rebecca Hodes celebrate academic milestones for the AIDS and Society Research Unit. Wienand's thesis, about the representation of HIV in South African photography, was completed recently. Hodes's book Broadcasting the Pandemic: HIV on South African Television (HSRC, Cape Town, 2014) was launched at the Book Lounge on 3 June 2014, and Nattrass was awarded the UCT book award for the second time, for The AIDS Conspiracy: Science Fights Back (Columbia University Press, New York, 2013).

Workshop on Social Protection in Africa

Thirty scholars from all over South Africa, as well as Zambia, Uganda and Tanzania, gathered in the CSSR on 29/30 May for a two-day workshop on Social Protection in Africa.

Leila Patel (former Director-General in the South African Department of Welfare, and now Professor at the University of Johannesburg) gave a talk reflecting on "development social welfare", which she championed in the 1990s. Sarah Brooks (Professor at Ohio State University in the USA) presented her preliminary quantitative analysis of  cross-national data on conditional and unconditional cash transfers, explaining why some countries adopted the former and others the latter.

A series of panels focused on the implementation and local politics of social grants in South Africa, theoretical issues around grants, justice and distribution, the early history of social grants in South Africa between the 1920s and 1950s, the politics of policy reform in Uganda and Tanzania, and the politics of reform in Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho and Zimbabwe. The workshop programme is attached here.

Rajen Govender's recent publications

Rajen Govender - an Associate Professor in the CSSR and Sociology Department - has published three co-authored papers already in 2014. Myers, Petersen, Kader, Koch, Manderscheid, Govender and Parry, "Identifying perceived barriers to monitoring service quality among substance abuse treatment providers in South Africa", was published in BMC Psychiatry in February. Kader, Seedat, Govender, Koch and Parry, "Hazardous and harmful use of alcohol and/or other drugs and health status among South African patients attending HIV clinics" was published in Aids and Behaviour in March. Bowen, Govender and Edwards, "Structural Equation Modeling of Occupational Stress in the Construction Industry" was published in the Journal of  Construction Engineering and Management in May.

Voting Without a Co-ethnic: Ethnic Proximity and Coloured Voting Preferences

Seminar
20 May, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Adam Harris (visiting PhD student, New York University)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Much of the ethnic politics and African politics literatures repeatedly find that people vote for their co-ethnics. These literatures are generally silent on the role ethnicity plays for those who do not have a co-ethnic candidate for whom to vote and often implicitly assumes ethnicity does not matter for such individuals' political behaviour. However, on average, 40% Africans, on average, will face a presidential election in which they have no co-ethnic candidate. How does ethnicity influence these voters' preferences? This paper uses the concept of ethnic proximity along the dimensions of language, race, religion, and region to understand the behaviour of such voters. This paper is part of a larger project that is the first to seriously conceptualize and operationalize ethnicity as continuous. I measure ethnic proximity for the Coloured population in South Africa and find that racial proximity to candidates significantly predicts the voting preferences of members of this ethnic group. 

Rebecca Hodes' new book Broadcasting the Pandemic

CSSR researcher Dr Rebecca Hodes' new book has just been published. Broadcasting the Pandemic analyses Beat It!, the television show that served to educate the public about AIDS. The book explores the links between AIDS activism, the media and public policy. Broadcasting the Pandemic is published by HSRC Press. The book will be launched at the Book Lounge at 6 pm on Tuesday 3 June. Rebecca will discuss the book with Lucilla Blankenberg (Director of the Community Media Trust) and UCT's Professor Deborah Posel.

Choosing care: Narratives of Interference

Seminar
13 May, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Nicole Daniels ((CSSR/Sociology)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

While the literature on home birth emphasises women’s capacity to relate to birth in deeply meaningful terms, less attention has been paid to ‘interferences’ in this process. The extent to which women’s birthing needs are met relates to their capacity to make meaningful birth choices. By drawing on four case studies of South African home birthers, this paper examines the kinds of care which generate a sense of containment and continual relationship for birthing women, despite interference. Where home births validate and affirm the psycho-social nature of relational birthing subjects; being supported, being seen and being heard, translates into a social environment of care. Subjective interpretations of what matters most, narrated by home birthers in relationship with partners and caregivers, describe social environments which uphold safety, intimacy, connection, and agency. Homes are not controlled environments, so the inconsistency between narrated birth and actual birth experiences offers an interesting vantage point on the social contexts that generate empowered birthing selves. The care afforded home birthers allows them to create and maintain safe birth spaces, even as homes - bridges of public/private divides - intrude on relational selves. This research adds to an understanding of the consequences of women’s birth choices. By foregrounding interference, this paper highlights that choices (contested as they are) remain fundamental to women’s experiences of birth.

Discussion on the "Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry" into Policing in Khayelitsha.

Seminar
6 May, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Adam Armstrong (CSSR/GroundUp) and Sebastian Saborio (visiting PhD student, University of Urbino)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29 Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Just as the Marikana Commission has put public order policing under a spotlight, the O'Regan Commission on policing in Khayelitsha is subjecting routine policing to unprecedented scrutiny. Adam has attended almost every session of the Commission to date, filing almost daily reports for GroundUp - the online community media site run by the CSSR at UCT and the Community Media Trust (see www.groundup.org.za). Sebastian is a visiting PhD student, writing his PhD on policing poor neighbourhoods in Rio da Janeiro and Cape Town. He spent several months embedded with the police in Rio's favelas, and is now attending the Khayelitsha Commission to see how Cape Town is policed. 

Insecure Democracy: Risk, Vulnerability and Democratic Rights in Brazil

Seminar
29 April, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Sarah Brooks (Ohio State)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29 Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Latin American nations have undergone dramatic transitions to democracy and open markets in recent decades. Such changes have exposed citizens to high levels of economic volatility and insecurity, while at the same time expanding the possibilities for citizens to hold governments to account and to demand compensation for such hardships. Recent research indicates that even as economic insecurity has risen and social insurance programs have been retrenched, civil society in Latin America has remained relatively quiescent, with low levels of political participation. This paper tests the hypothesis that insecurity (defined as exposure to risk and lack of adequate means to hedge that risk) has a dampening effect on citizens’ propensity to engage in different forms of political life, such as attending municipal meetings and neighborhood organizations, and engaging in protest. Data from a 2009 nation-wide survey in Brazil reveal that individuals who have access to more extensive means of risk protection, all else being equal, are systematically more likely to participate actively in the more moderate and sustained forms of democratic politics, such as neighborhood associations and municipal meetings. This is not the case for protest activity, however, which is likely to entail very different calculations of risk and reward. The results of the analysis are preliminary, but indicate a sharp cleavage of insecurity that coincides with widening fault lines of political engagement in Brazil.

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