These ‘interventions’ are spurred by what in South Africa today is a buzz-phrase: social cohesion. The term, or concept, is bandied about with little reflection by leaders or spokespeople in politics, business, labour, education, sport, entertainment and the media.
Yet, who would not wish to live in a socially cohesive society? How, then, do we apply the ideal in the daily round when diversity of language, religion, culture, race and the economy too often supersedes our commitment to a common citizenry? How do we live together rather than live apart? Such questions provoke the purpose of these interventions.
The interventions – essays, which are short, incisive, at times provocative – tackle issues that are pertinent to both living together and living apart: equality/inequality, public pronouncement, xenophobia, safety, chieftaincy in modernity, gender-based abuse, healing, the law, education, identity, sport, new ‘national’ projects, the role of the arts, South Africa in the world.
In focusing on such issues, the essays point towards the making of a future, in which a critical citizenry is key to a healthy society.
Contributors include leading academics and public figures in South Africa today: Christopher Ballantine, Ahmed Bawa, Michael Chapman, Jacob Dlamini, Jackie Dugard, Kira Erwin, Nicole Fritz, Michael Gardiner, Gerhard Maré, Monique Marks, Rajend Mesthrie, Bonita Meyersfeld, Leigh-Ann Naidoo, Njabulo S. Ndebele, Kathryn Pillay, Faye Reagon, Brenda Schmahmann, Himla Soodyall, David Spurrett and Thuto Thipe.
Christopher Ballantine, Michael Chapman and Gerhard Maré are professors emeriti who are affiliated to the University of KwaZulu-Natal. They have all published prominently in areas of the humanities and social sciences in South Africa. Kira Erwin is a researcher at the Urban Futures Centre at the Durban University of Technology. Her publications focus on race, space and urban identities.
1 At Ease with Being ‘Citizen’ and ‘Human Being’
Njabulo S. Ndebele
2 Human Variation: What Can We Learn from Genetics?
Himla Soodyall and Faye Reagon
3 Agreeing to Disagree
4 The Danger of Empty Words: from Rhetoric to Action
5 What Social Cohesion? Binding through Shared Austerity
6 Where Walls Don’t Divide: Dreaming a Suburban Life
7 Bound by Tradition: Chieftaincy in a ‘New’ South Africa
8 ‘AmaNdiya, they’re not South Africans!’ Xenophobia and Citizenship
9 ‘Them’ and ‘Us’: Politics, Poetry and the Public Voice
10 ‘Urban Cool!’ Social Bridging in Language
11 Sounds like a Better Future: Musicking for Social Change
12 Embroidering Controversy: The Politics of Visual Imaging
13 Mothers, Children and Mathematics: Ways to a Better Society
14 Coercion or Cohesion? Educators in a Democracy
15 Sexual Harassment and Violence: Higher Education as Social Microcosm
Jackie Dugard and Bonita Meyersfeld
16 The ‘Hidden’ Curriculum of South African Sport
17 The Global Obligations We Owe: A Source of Domestic Cohesion?
18 The Death of Jacob Dlamini
- Living Together, Living Apart?: Social Cohesion in a Future South Africa by Christopher Ballantine, Kira Erwin, Gerhard Mare
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