Prof Elena Moore

Director: Families and Societies Research Unit

Associate Professor,Sociology

Professor Moore has been at UCT since 2011 and director of FaSRU since August 2014. She has been with the Sociology Department since 2012. She specialises in the sociology of the family and has a Masters degree in Applied Social Research and a PhD from Trinity College Dublin. She is the author of Divorce, Families and Emotion Work (Palgrave, 2017) and (with Chuma Himonga) Reform of Customary Marriage, Divorce and Succession in South Africa (Juta & Co. 2015), as well as numerous journal articles and book chapters. She was appointed as the NRF Replacement Chair in Customary Law, Indigenous Values and Human Rights for 2018 and 2019. Over the last two years, she has been partnering with four other Universities and global networks on care, money, gender and families. She supervises nine postgraduate students and two masters students at the Unit.

Contact details

Tel:. +27 21 6505336

Office: Room 4.4  Sociology Leslie Social Science Building, Rondebosch 7700,South Africa

Current research centres on two areas: (1) Customary Law and Personal Relationships currently editor on a book project entitled Custom, Generation and Power in Families, and (2) Intergenerational Relationships and Kin Support. There are three separate projects within this area which examine different aspects of intergenerational relationships and the flows of support (money and care) within and across households, including a focus on inheritance and wills.

Link to CV

Recent publications


Moore, E. (2017) Divorce, Families and Emotion Work: Only Death Will Make Us Part. Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.

Himonga, C and Moore, E. (2015) Reform of Customary Marriage, Divorce and Intestate Succession In South Africa. Juta & Co. Ltd.

Editorship Journal Special Issue

2019. Social Protection, Intergenerational Relationships and Conflict in South Africa. Special Issue of Critical Social Policy (Co-edited with Jeremy Seekings). Vol 39(4)

Articles in Refereed Journals

1. Moore, E (2020) Financing Social Reproduction: Women’s responsibilities in financing and undertaking household social reproduction in multigenerational households in South Africa. Revue internationale des études du développement. Care, inégalités et politiques aux Suds [Special Issue on Care and Inequalities in the Global South]. 242

2. Moore, E (2019) Who has a duty to support? Care practices and legal responsibilities in South Africa. Critical Social Policy. Vol 39(4)582-598

3. Moore E and Seekings J (2019) Consequences of Social Protection on Intergenerational Relationships in South Africa. Critical Social Policy. Vol 39(4) 513-524

4. Moore, E. (2019) “My husband has to stop beating me and I shouldn’t go to the police”: Family meetings, patriarchal bargains and marital violence in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. Violence Against Women (

5. Button, K., Moore, E., & Seekings, J. (2018). “South Africa’s Hybrid Care Regime: The changing and contested roles of individuals, families and the state after apartheid.” Current Sociology, Special Issue: "Global Sociology of Care and Care Work": 66(4) 602–616.

Book Chapters in Peer Reviewed Books

Moore, E (2020) ‘Your Surroundings Don’t Make You; You Must Rise above all that’ The Home in Life Histories as Site of Resistance to Racial Violence, Cape Town South. In Van Walraven, K. The Individual in African History. The Importance of Biography in African Historical Studies. Brill. Leiden.

Moore, E (2019) Divorce, Emotions, and Legal Regulations: Shared Parenting in a Climate of Fear. In: Kreyenfeld, & Treppe, H (2020) Parental Life Courses after Separation and Divorce in Europe. Springer.

Public Sociology

Moore, E (2020) Women-headed households and Covid-19.

Moore, E (2020) Old age grants hold together many a family. Coronavirus: Intergenerational issues.

Moore, E and Himonga, C (2019) Human Rights and Cultural Practices, 22 March 2019

Moore, E (2019) Customary wives fight against abuse. Mail & Guardian, 01 February 2019

Moore E & Himonga C (2018) Living Customary Law and Families in South Africa. In: Hall K, Richter L, Mokomane Z & Lake L (eds) South African Child Gauge 2018. Cape Town: Children’s Institute, University of Cape Town. (

Moore, E & Himonga, C (2018) Customary Law can pose problems for widows. Mail & Guardian, 23 November.

Moore, E (2018) Fatherhood and Customary Marriage Dissolution. In State of South Africa’s Father Report. Sonke Gender Institute and Human Sciences Research Council.pp15-19