Political Science
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Research

Current resear​ch projects in the department

​Prof Amanda Gouws is currently doing a major research project on conditions of care in communities in South Africa with a high HIV/Aids prevalence from the perspective of the feminist ethics of care, the results should be released in the second half of 2009.  She is also doing research on the South African Women's Movement and its trajectory since 1994.

Prof Pierre du Toit's most recently completed research is on the question of the extent to which the democratisation of the South African regime in 1994 has been accompanied by the inculcation of liberal values within the South African public. The study uses a unique data base, comprising of the World Values Surveys for South Africa from 1981  to 2006, and the South African Elite Surveys conducted by  the Centre for International and Comparative Politics, from 1990 to 2007. The findings are published in the book (co-authored with Prof Hennie Kotzé) titled  Liberal Democracy and Peace in South Africa.  The Pursuit of Freedom as Dignity, (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). Current research includes a multi-disciplinary study on the Black Middle Class in South Africa, another one on Dominant-Party Regimes, and yet and another multi-disciplinary study by the Transformation Research Initiative, TRI, on how the 2008 Global Financial Crisis has impacted on the relationship between Capitalism and Democracy. The first book in this project, Democracy under Stress - The Global Crisis and Beyond, with Ursula van Beek and Edmund Wnuk-Lipinsky as editors, was published in 2012.

Prof Anthony Leysens' research centres on the political economy of South and Southern Africa within the dynamics of globalisation, which includes theorising the African state form within the context of local social forces and the dynamics of the contemporary world order. He is also undertaking an empirical and critical application of the political economist, Robert W Cox's, macro theory of change to focus on the behaviour of marginalised social forces in Southern Africa. This involves generating hypotheses about these groups derived from Coxian Critical Theory and subjecting them to the survey data generated by the Afrobarometer project. An  ongoing theoretical evaluation of Cox's work with the aim of (re)locating his contribution to political economy theory and attempting a synthesis between rational and interpretative approaches towards a critical empiricism.

Ms Derica Lambrechts is currently busy with her DPhil degree. The topic of her research study is: The Impact of Organised Crime on the Social Control by the State. As a case study, the research focuses on the gangs on the Cape Flats and the community of Manenberg. In addition, the state is analysed on the level of local government, thus the City of Cape Town.

Prof Janis van der Westhuizen's current research interests include the comparative political economcy of Brazil, Malaysia and South Africa, as well as the interplay between identity and foreign policy.

Dr Nicola de Jager is currently co-editing a book, together with Prof. Pierre du Toit, titled 'Friend or Foe? Understanding dominant party systems in Southern Africa. Lessons learned from developing countries'. Contributors to the book and their respective chapters include: Prof Ken Greene (Mexico), Prof. Joseph Wong (South Korea), Prof Yun-Han Chu and Prof Chung-Li Wu (Taiwan), Dr Thiven Reddy (India), Prof. David Sebudubudu & Mr Mokganedi Zara Botlhomilwe (Botswana), Prof André du Pisani (Nambia), Dr Nicola de Jager (South Africa) and Ms Annemie Britz & Mr Josephat Tshuma (Zimbabwe). Book is to be published in 2012.

Prof Scarlett Cornelissen's current research projects include International Relations Theory and Africa; New Regionalisms; TICAD IV and its promises for Japan-Africa relations; Mega-projects and urban revanchism in the South and North.

Mr Gerrie Swart is a part of the South African research team for the Leaders, Elites and Coalitions Research Project, funded by The World Bank.

Dr Ubanesia Adams-Jack conducts research on the implementation of gender policy at the provincial government level in South Africa. She has examined the working environment of gender focal units and the implications of this working environment for gender equality promotion in the provincial government of the Western Cape Province. She is currently examining the changes to gender equality promotion policy and possible reasons for these changes. She has also conducted research on the implementation of health system transformation in the Western Cape Province, where she focused on the creation of a District Health System.

Prof Pieter Fourie is working on theorising an 'AIDS Diplomacy' for South Africa and other emerging states. He is also interested in the idea of socio-political resilience, i.e. why some political systems seem to be able to absorb major external and systemic shocks better than others. In future he intends to do work on the locus of Accountability in the global as well as domestic governance and determination of health outcomes --  specifically in the context of shifting and contested sovereignties.