Immigration attitudes and immigration policy in Germany and South Africa

22 March, 2016 - 12:45 to 14:00
Matthias Kronke (CSSR)
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Although immigrant integration policies have long been hypothesised to be causally related to the salience of xenophobia, systematic empirical research investigating this relationship only gained momentum in recent years. One of the more robust findings is that more permissive policies seem to be associated with decreased perceptions of group threat from immigrants. Yet, these research projects are often limited to once-off cross-sectional comparisons of immigrant integration policies, and anti-foreigner sentiments in European countries. This study uses systematic methods to test the direction of the policy-attitude linkage through a longitudinal analysis. Moreover, the study contributes to the existing literature by expanding this test to South Africa, representing the hitherto under-researched developing world setting and a geographical area that differs from the highly industrialised European context. The longitudinal analysis of immigrant integration policies in Germany and South Africa confirms that over time both countries implemented several changes that resulted in more accommodating policy frameworks. A subsequent analysis of the policy-attitude relationship confirms the direction of causality running from policies to citizens’ economic and cultural threat perceptions. Furthermore, the results confirm that integration policies indeed have the theorised mediating influence on the salience of economic threat in Germany. However, immigrant integration policies do not seem to be connected to economic threat in the case of South Africa. 

Lesley Gittings awarded NRF funding

Lesley Gittings has been awarded funding from the National Research Foundation (NRF) under their Innovation scheme (international non-SADC student category) for 2016. The Innovation Doctoral funding instrument is part of the Innovation Bursary Scheme (IBS) funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and managed by the National Research Foundation (NRF). It aims to broaden the frontiers of knowledge in innovation areas and to build the PhD pipeline for a knowledge based economy. The competitive evaluation process is based on academic performance, leadership roles, potential research outputs and impact, and the feasibility and merit of the applicant’s research project proposal.

Detecting Manipulation in Authoritarian Elections: Survey-Based Methods in Zimbabwe.

15 March, 2016 - 12:45 to 14:00
Professor Michael Bratton - Michigan State University
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 
This paper compares official results from the July 2013 presidential and parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe with findings from a nationally representative pre-election survey.  The comparison confirms that the dominant incumbent party won the elections but by far smaller margins than officially reported. This discrepancy provides analytical leverage to identify the possible presence of coercive mobilization and opposition vote suppression.

The Role of the Media in German Election Campaigns

8 March, 2016 - 12:45 to 14:00
Professor Christina Holtz-Bacha - Friedrich Alexander - University of Erlange-Nürnberg
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

The lecture presents findings from long-term content analyses of the coverage of German election campaigns in newspapers and television news and of electoral spots on television. These findings thus show how the media reporting of elections changed over time and also of how the parties present themselves to the electorate. In particular, it will be discussed whether there has been a trend towards personalization in a political system that is dominated by parties.

Inheritance: women are still cut out

In the third part of the series of the reform of customary marriage, divorce and intestate succession, we show how customary practices of male primogeniture continue to operate. The reformed laws on intestate succession have not ensured greater protection for women and extra marital children in matters of intestate succession.

Customary marriage: is the law working?


In a three part series featured in GroundUp, Elena Moore and Chuma Himonga (NRF Chair in Customary Law) unpack the thorny issues which arose from a national study on the implementation of the new laws on customary marriage, divorce and succession. They present the findings and outline what remains to be done to improve the implementation of these laws. See the first article:

Publication update

Rebecca Hodes has published an article in the Journal of Southern African Studies, 42, 1 (2016), pp. 79-93, as part of a special edition on 'South Africa in Transition'. The volume is edited by Jason Robinson, Jonny Steinberg and David Simon. Hodes's article is entitled 'The Culture of Illegal Abortion in South Africa'.

The article is available here, and the abstract is below:


Welcome, Alecia Ndlovu


Alecia Ndlovu has joined UCT as a lecturer in the Department of Political Studies, on a post funded through the CSSR. Alecia is currently completing her PhD in International Relations at Wits University. She holds a BA in International Relations and Applied Economics, as well as an MA (Cum Laude) in International Relations. Her main research and teaching interests are in political economy (comparative and international) and quantitative methods. Her thesis is entitled “Sustaining the unsustainable? Political institutions and development in sub-Saharan Africa’s resource economies.” It combines cross-national statistical research and fieldwork in four African countries—Ghana, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia. Alecia's appointment strengthens the university's teaching and research in both quantitative social science and comparative African politics.

What kind of a trade union is SACTWU?

In a new article, in the Review of African Political Economy, Nicoli Nattrass and Jeremy Seekings examine the business interests of the South African Clothing and Textile Workers Union (SACTWU). In the 2000s SACTWU has come to depend on its political alliance with the governing party not only for the regulation of wages and industrial policies but also for Black Economic Empowerment policies that helped it to acquire massive shareholdings, including in the largest clothing manufacturer. Nattrass and Seekings argue that the union acquired a stake in ‘casino capitalism’, both literally (through shares in casinos) and figuratively (through its financial investments), whilst relying on government to stack the odds in its favour. Nattrass and Seekings continue to work on the decline of South Africa's clothing industry.

Three research students graduate, December

Three CSSR-based research students graduated at the December graduation ceremony. All three received distinctions for their Masters (by research) dissertations. Nicole Daniels examined in her dissertation 'The gendered experiences of women, men and couples who plan, have and narrate homebirths'. Sam Telzak's dissertation was on 'Shifting economic perceptions in South Africa: The impact of migration'. Sam Hamer examined the role of social protection policy in electoral branding by presidential candidates in Botswana and Malawi. Congratulations to all three.

Discussing Divorce, Families and Emotion Work

Last week, Elena Moore discussed the findings of her manuscript on Divorce, Families and Emotion Work. The findings were presented at The Geary Institute at the University College Dublin, hosted by Dorren Mc Mahon. The second seminar took place at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and was hosted by The Department of Applied Social Studies & The Department of Sociology with Dr. Jane Gray acting as the discussant. The qualitative longitudinal research which follows the lives of a group of 40 separated parents over a 10 year period presents the work involved in sustaining family life as separated parents remain deeply connected and committed to each other.

Customary Marriage Study: Disseminating the Findings


Prof. Chuma Himonga, NRF Chair in Customary Law and Elena Moore met with several members of the National House of Traditional Leaders in Pretoria last week. At the meeting, the authors discussed the findings of the research, in particular, the findings that relate to the role of traditional leaders in registering customary marriages and resolving family disputes. The representatives of the meeting welcomed the findings and a lively discussion ensued. For more information about the research findings, see

Poverty is a behaviour: An evaluation of Life History theory in Cape Town

17 November, 2015 - 12:45 to 14:00
Robin Smaill
CSSR Seminar Room 4.29, Level 4 Leslie Social Science Building, Upper Campus
Abstract / Description: 

Poverty and inequality are generational and increasing, and the implication is that they have immunity to intervention, or the current interventions.  These problems are better conceptualised as behavioural with the lack of wealth a symptom of that behaviour. Life History (LH) theory offers a biological perspective on human behaviour with a focus on resource allocation. The amount of resources that parents allocate to aspects of reproduction differs, resulting in different parenting and that has consequences for the life of the child. LH theory offers an explanation of resource allocation variation and this study uses the CAPS data set to evaluate the theory in Cape Town.

Educational achievement was the outcome variable in a multiple regression model.   The demographic and control variables were gender, race, age and ever pregnant. The variables were wealth and the themes of environment, school, school/parent, and parents. Between two and nine variables were used for each theme and many of variables were composite.

The model accounts for 35% of the variation in educational achievement and the significance is such that the results can be generalised beyond the sample. Parents and school/parents are the dominant factors. The environment and school alone are minor coefficients and wealth is important but with a low significance. There are also important interactions between variables.

This research offers a new perspective on the educational crisis, improving skills, improving health and reducing crime. Biology and particularly life history theory is shown to be a productive tool in understanding poverty and inequality.