The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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In this valuable book, The State of the People, the authors ask a pertinent question - did the transition to democracy improve the state of the South African people? It is the sheer scale of the transition in South Africa that provides a unique opportunity to investigate processes of transition and it was decided that a longitudinal and multi-disciplinary study be launched to register the changes in political opinion, attitude and behaviour of South Africans during the period 1994 to 2000.

The research brought together the collective efforts and skills of the experienced - a knowledgeable research team from the Universities of the Witwatersrand, Stellenbosch, Natal, Western Cape and the Free University, Amsterdam, and the HSRC - and more than 50 South African and Dutch students, who all gained new insights and valuable experience in the course thereof.

Beginning with an overview of historical developments in 1994 to 2000, The State of the People then examines the distribution of wealth. During, and prior to, the apartheid era, wealth was distributed on the basis of race and Chapter 2 explores whether six years of the 'new' South Africa made a difference in this regard. Chapter 3 on grievances and relative deprivation describes how, in the course of time, people assessed their personal situation and that of the group they felt closest to, while Chapter 4 explores the formation of collective identity in the 'new' South Africa. Questions such as whether people developed an overarching national identity in a country that had been so deeply divided and whether race has lost its overpowering impact on people's collective identity are explored.

The book goes on to discuss citizen participation in civil society organisations (Chapter 5) and investigates how South Africans evaluate their government (Chapter 6), including to what extent South Africans approve of and trust national, provincial and local government. Chapter 7 offers a discussion of the extent to which South Africans are interested in politics and whether they participated in electoral and protest politics - interestingly, the authors also explore whether interest in politics and political participation has declined since the change in power in 1994.

Finally, The State of the People summarises South Africans' evaluation of their state, both in terms of their personal situation and that of the people they identify with and the new political arrangements of their country.

Open Access

Product information

Format : 148mm x 210mm
Pages : 258
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-1985-2
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-1985-4
Publish Year : 2001

List of Tables
List of Figures
Preface and Acknowledgements
About the Authors
About this Book

1. South African politics and collective action, 1994-2000 by Tom Lodge
2. The distribution of wealth
3. Grievances and relative deprivation
4. The formation of collective identity
5. Involvement in civil society
6. The evaluation of government with Hennie Kotze
7. Political participation
8. The state of the people

References
Appendix - Methods
Index

Bert Klandermans is professor in applied social psychology at the Free University, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The emphasis in his work is on social psychological consequences of social, economic and political change. He has published extensively on the social psychology of particuipation in social movements and labour unions.

Hennie Kotz is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch, where he teaches research methodology, public policy making and political risk analysis. He is presently engaged in research on the process of democratic consolidation in South Africa, elite perceptions and the role of parliaments in Southern Africa. He has authored and co-authored a number of books and has published extensively on comparative politics.

Tom Lodge is professor in political studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he has worked since 1978. He has published four books about South African politics, the most recent being a study of the 1999 general election. At present he is working on a book about the 1960 Sharpeville massacre.

Johan Olivier was project leader and chief research specialist at the Human Sciences Research C ouncil during the period 1994-2000. His research interests are social movements and collective action, democratisation, social stability and research methodology. He holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University in the United States. He is currently an independent researcher/management consultant, in which capacity he assists the National Treasury in South Africa with the implementation of development and transformation projects of the government.

Marlene Roefs lives and works in Pretoria. She is a Ph.D. student in social psychology at the Free University, Amsterdam, and a freelance researcher in South Africa. Her fields of research include participation in collective behaviour, political and organisational transformation and local governance. She has worked for several research institutions and organisations in the Netherlands and South Africa. Currently she assists the United Nations Development Programme in their Capacity Building for Local Government in South Africa programme.

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