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Departmental Research 

The department excels in four areas of research:

Citizenship and democracy

  • Elections and campaigning
  • Local democracy and citizenship in the urban south
  • State-citizen relations, social protection, social justice, and inclusion
  • Class/race debates in South Africa

Selected publications:

Africa, C. 2019. Do Election Campaigns Matter in South Africa? An Examination of Fluctuations in Support for the ANC, DA, IFP and NNP 1994–2019. 

Africa, C. 2019.  The Smaller Parties: Who’s in and who’s out? 

Anciano, F. and Wheeler, J. 2019. Political values and narratives of resistance: Social justice and fractured promises of post-colonial states.

Laurence Piper, Fiona Anciano & Bettina von Lieres. 2021. ‘Defiant citizenship: marginality, race, and the struggle for place in Hangberg, South Africa’, Citizenship Studies

Mandyoli, L. (2023). Thinking Capital and Colonialism in South Africa: the Problem of Justice. Africa Focus

Urban governance

  • Democracy and urban governance
  • Crisis, disaster and resilience governance in informal settlements
  • Off-grid cities
  • Civil society and urban governance
The department is also host to a research group in this area led by Prof Fiona Anciano:

Selected publications:

Gready, P, Anciano, F. Mushengyezi, A. Papane, B. and Mvelase, Z. (2023). ‘Universities as Sites of Protection: Insights from the Global South’

Anciano, F. and Piper, L. (2022). Localising governance in the African city: A grounded model of multiple and contending forms of security governance in Hout Bay, Cape Town.

Pretorius, J. and Anciano, F (2022) ‘But is it war? The experience and contestation of a securitized Covid-19 response in South Africa’

Anciano, F. and Piper, L. 2019. Democracy Disconnected: Participation and Governance in a City of the South. London: Routledge.

African Studies and International Relations

  • State and nation building in the Horn of Africa
  • African Integration
  • Intra-African migration and mobility
  • African thought on concepts such as democracy
  • Africa and the nuclear order
  • Nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament
The department received the Keith Gottschalk Award for African Integration to celebrate the legacy of Adjunct-professor Keith Gottschalk, a scholar and champion of African integration. The Award is coordinated by Dr Namhla Matshanda and Mr Ayanda Nombila.

Selected publications:

Matshanda, N.T. 2023. The Contemporary Challenge of Citizenship in Ethiopia and the Role of Empire in the Making of Subject Populations

Thompson, D.K. and Matshanda, N.T. 2023. Political Identity as Temporal Collapse: Ethiopian Federalism and Contested Ogaden Histories
Matshanda, N.T. 2022. Ethiopia’s civil wars: postcolonial modernity and the violence of contested nationhood

Nombila, A.W. 2018. Reading the idea of nation, Pan-Africanism and globalization in the thought of Dr. Silas Modiri Molema.

Hoskins, JM and Mandyoli, L, 2023. Understanding the role of Africa’s capitalist class in the continent’s continued economic and social underdevelopment: Revisiting Samir Amin’s Delinking theory.

Joelien Pretorius and Tom Vaughan, forthcoming, Complexity, anti-politics and African nuclear ordering agency: A meso-level exploration

Joelien Pretorius and Tom Sauer, 2022. When is abandoning the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons legitimate?

Work-Based Learning in Political Studies

  • Scholarship of teaching and learning
  • Applied Political Studies
  • The department has a long-standing collaboration with the University West in Sweden. In addition, to co-teaching courses and co-developing our respective Work-based learning Masters programmes, we also collaborate on research in this area.

Selected publications:

Laurence Piper, Sondré Bailey, and Robyn Pasensie. 2020. ‘Civic Engagement through Work-Integrated Learning: Reflections from Community-Based Research on Social Grants in South Africa’

Laurence Piper, Karl Dahlquist, Fredrik Sunnemark, Per Assmo. 2023. Rethinking WIL for an Academic Discipline: The model of Work Integrated Political Studies (WIPS)

Laurence Piper, Karl Dahlquist and Fredrik Sunnemark (2023). Learning for utopia: from banal to critical Work-Integrated Learning (WIL).

Africa, C., Moses, M., Hoskins, M., & Cornelius, M. (2022). Can Work Integrated Learning (WIL) be Implemented in the Social Sciences? Reflections on a Nascent WIL Programme at the Political Studies Department, University of the Western Cape.