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The Political Economy of the South African Transition

Online Reading Course: The Political Economy of the South African Transition

This online course is offered by ILRIG to the activists and formations we work with. It is part of the ongoing task of political education that can give activists a basic and solid foundation to better understand and analyse both historic and contemporary political, economic and social realities in South Africa. The main purpose of this course is not only to expand knowledge horizons and to lay the basis for participants to sharpen their intellectual and analytical skills, but to directly link this to advancing our collective work and struggle for radical political, economic and social change. Readings are designed to provide ideologically diverse, practically informed and activist-intellectual ‘vehicles’ in the search for meaningful, grounded explanations, understandings, analysis and action. Crucial issues about the state, forms of political power, social relations and mass resistance and struggle for change will be surfaced.

Modules Timeframe Assignment due dates
Late 1980s – mid 1990s 1: The political context: from liberation to accommodation? Week 1 & 2 Assignment 1: end of week 4
2: The economic context: engaged realism or conscious retreat?  Week 3 & 4
Mid-1990s – early 2000s 3: Corporatizing state and society: theory, practice, consequence  Week 5 & 6 Assignment 2: end of week 8
4: The politics of class formation  Week 7 & 8
Early-late 2000s 5: The ANC-Alliance and the ‘management’ of South Africa’s transitional contradictions: A crisis of democracy and development?  Week 9 & 10 Assignment 3: end of week 12
6: The state, social movements and resistance from below  Week 11 & 12
2007 – present 7: Capital, labour and socio-political relations in conditions of crisis  Week 13 & 14 Assignment 4: end of week 16
8: Zuma, the rule of the ANC and the possibilities of change  Week 15 & 16