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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:What Do We Need to Know about White Attitudes: A Critique of Major Surveys of White South African Opinion
Author:Stewart, Peter
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:political attitudes
Ethnic and Race Relations
Politics and Government
Abstract:This article evaluates surveys on white political attitudes in South Africa. After an explanation of what political attitudes are and of the relation between attitudes and the question of constructive liberation, the author first deals with the aims of attitude surveys. In general, South African surveys of white opinion have been designed with the aim of reforming establishment politics or setting up alternative centrist solutions which also avoid majority rule. Next, the author deals with the demographic characterization of society in attitude surveys and shows that the main variables influencing variation in attitudes are home language (English or Afrikaans-speaking), political party support and the rural-urban distinction. Finally, some questions are raised about the line of questioning adopted in attitude surveys and what the surveys seem to be looking for. This leads to the conclusion that the questions major surveys ask have been constrained by narrow political vision and inaccurate conjunctural analysis preceding the survey. A general outcome of the surveys is that they show widespread white conservatism, aggression and fearfulness. Two major surveys to which the article refers are studies by the Buthelezi Commission (1982) and the German Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (1981). Bibliogr., ref.