Political Science
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Current Research Projects

Prof Pieter Fourie is working on theorising Health Diplomacy for South Africa and other emerging states. He is also interested in the evolution of Health as a thematic area within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and in how Gender finds application in the new multilateral Global Health Governance. 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.

Prof Amanda Gouws has been selected as a SARCHi Chair in Gender Politics as from 1 January 2016.  In this new capacity she will be driving research projects and supervise post-graduate students.  She is currently doing research on the women’s movement in South Africa and its development since 1994.  She is also working on a project on gender and multi-culturalism.  Her students will be doing research on women’s representation in government, women’s mobilisation and a gender focus on policy issues.


Prof Pierre du Toit's 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 Unit (TRU) 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. Another ongoing project is a comparative study of dominant party systems in the developing world. A book co-edited with dr Nicola de Jager titled Friend or Foe? Dominant Party Systems in Southern Africa was published in 2013. The changing technological environment within democractic regimes are required to function is also examined in the book Defining Democracy in a Digital Age: Political Support on Social Media co-authored with Barend Lutz, published in 2014. The most recent project is about the resilience of democratic regimes within an increasingly turbulent global context.


Prof Anthony Leysens' research focuses 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 also researches the politics of economic policy making in South Africa. A recent research interest focuses on the political identity of white South African veterans from the Angolan war as it is expressed via social media channels.

Dr Nicola de Jager is a research member of the Transformation Research Unit (TRU), for which she is heading the southern African regional group comparing the countries of Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe towards understanding why these countries have not yet consolidated their democracies. Her specific focus is on South Africa and investigating the role of Christianity in South Africa’s political development. In addition, Dr de Jager together with Dr Adams-Jack conducted a survey of Stellenbosch University’s born-frees as part of a national project, The Political Attitudes of South Africa’s first Democratic Generation: A Survey of the first democratic generation’s University Students, spearheaded by Prof. Joleen Steyn Kotze, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. The aim of the project is to understand the political attitudes, electoral trends and political behaviour of SU’s born-frees.

Dr Derica Lambrechts is currently researching actors related to the illicit abalone industry and the impact of this trade on state legitimacy. She is also starting with a comparative study of Cape Town and Rio de Janeiro, focusing on urban governance and non-state actors.

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.


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.

Dr Collette Schulz-Herzenberg currently conducts research in the areas of political behaviour, elections, party systems and democratisation, with a particular focus on quantitative research methods. She also works collaboratively with various scholars in South Africa and globally to implement and analyse numerous nationally representative post election surveys and is part of a global group of renowned scholars that implement the Comparative National Elections Project (CNEP) post election surveys in over 30 countries, including South Africa.