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.

The politics of cash transfers in Uganda

Seminar
15 April, 2014 - 13:00 to 14:00
Eduard Grebe (CSSR)
Rm 4.29, Leslie Social Science Building
Abstract / Description: 

This paper reviews the politics of welfare policy-making in Uganda, specifically as it relates to planning, gaining political support for, financing, implementing and scaling up cash transfer schemes. Uganda is a low-income country, but has made substantial developmental strides since the Museveni/NRM regime came to power in 1986, including relatively high rates of economic growth and reductions in poverty. However, chronic poverty persists and a large proportion of the non-poor are classified as vulnerable. Development policy has, and continues to be, focused on infrastructure development and facilitating private sector growth (earning Uganda darling status among proponents of the ‘Washington consensus’). But it has also adopted some pro-poor policies like substantial increases in social expenditure (principally health and education). Social protection has, however, lagged behind other developmental interventions and cash transfers are a recent phenomenon, with the first large-scale pilot being implemented from 2010. The Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment scheme (a pilot social pension and vulnerable families grant) has been implemented in fourteen districts with strong donor support. The scheme is largely funded by DfID, enjoys substantial donor technical support and followed an extensive agenda-setting and promotion exercise by donors and their civil society allies. National rollout of a social pension is firmly on the policy agenda and appears to have gained strong support in recent years (especially among legislators who see electoral advantages and sections of the bureaucracy) and is popular among the public. But sections of the Ugandan political elite remain sceptical, owing to concerns over ‘dependency’, adverse incentives, affordability and sustainability. Given the authoritarian, patronage-based and personalised character of the Museveni regime, presidential support for scale-up is seen as key, but Museveni’s support remains uncertain. While previous pro-poor initiatives appeared to have been driven by electoral pressures, the NRM has never faced a substantial electoral challenge and institutional reforms appear to have stalled. The paper concludes that donor-driven promotion of cash transfers has been surprisingly effective, but that the future of cash transfers are by no means ensured. Questions over political support, resource availability and technical capacity to implement a national programme remain.

Mellon Foundation extends its support to the CSSR

The CSSR was established in 2001-02 in large part due to the strong support of the Andew W. Mellon Foundation, to build capacity in the collection and analysis of quantitative social science data. We are delighted that the Mellon Foundation has now given the CSSR a third substantial award to help us to continue our work. The new award, covering the period from mid-2014 to mid-2017, will enable us to promote exchanges between researchers using quantitative data and researchers using qualitative material. Specifically, the award will support the establishment of a new research unit within the CSSR focused on families, kin and relationships, as well as supporting our annual Summer School.

Gabby Kelly wins prestigious fellowship at Yale

Gabby Kelly, who is a PhD student in the CSSR and Sociology Department, has won a prestigious Fox Fellowship at Yale. Gabby will spend the 2014-15 academic year at Yale, working on her PhD on doctors and the administration of disability grants in South Africa. A steady stream of CSSR-based students have won Fox Fellowships at Yale. These include: Brendan Maughan-Brown (now a post-doc in SALDRU at UCT); Ed Grebe and Singumbe Muyeba (both currently post-docs in the CSSR), Colin Almeleh and Duncan Pieterse. Some preliminary results from Gabby's research were published as CSSR Working Paper no 330 (2013).

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.

Pages