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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Urban Women, Civil Society, and Social Transformation in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
Author:Hirschmann, DavidISNI
Periodical:African Rural and Urban Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:social change
political systems
urban women
Women's Issues
Urbanization and Migration
Politics and Government
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Ethnic and Race Relations
Law, Legal Issues, and Human Rights
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
Abstract:Within the context of current debate on democracy and political transition, this paper uses the example of the Eastern Cape, South Africa, where the author carried out research in July and August 1993, to provide insights on gender and civil society. Most definitions of civil society revolve around the part of society that interacts with the State. The present paper demonstrates the inadequacy of relying on such narrow State-oriented definitions of civil society. In particular, the paper demonstrates how much of women's associational activity takes place in the social non-State focused sphere, and how closely intermeshed this type of activity is with more political State-oriented activity. The narrow definition would therefore not only exclude much of women's activity, it would also miss the essential overlap between the spheres, and so oversimplify the complexity of civil society. The second purpose of the paper is to argue for a recognition of a process of 'social transition' to accompany the process of political and of economic transition. Social transition would tend to find its focus within the broad sectoral parameters of health, welfare and education and it would usually be concerned with the more disadvantaged groups in society. Bibliogr., notes, ref.