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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Oppositional Intellectualism as Reflection, Not Rejection, of Power: Wits Sociology, 1975-1989
Author:Ally, Shireen
Periodical:Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
Education and Oral Traditions
History and Exploration
Ethnic and Race Relations
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Politics and Government
External link:http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/transformation/v059/59.1ally.pdf
Abstract:During the apartheid period in South Africa, sociologists were at the centre of attempts to theorize and activate the racial, cultural and economic ideas that birthed the project of apartheid. Presently, in the postapartheid period, sociology in South Africa is faced with a daunting task, having to negotiate its own reconstruction at the same time as it has to consider its role in the reconstruction of the nation. This requires a serious interrogation of the discipline's most pervasive paradigms, in particular the oppositional intellectualism that emerged in the 1970s. At the Sociology Department at the University of the Witwatersrand, a Marxist 'critical sociology' emerged not out of freedom from the constraints of power. Instead, its embrace amongst white English-speaking intellectuals involved a reconfiguration of race, inspired by the politics of race and class engendered by the Black Consciousness and emerging labour movements. The intersection of these racialized politics with social movements came to have decisive effects on this group of intellectuals, making possible a distinct radical intellectualism that reformulated the analytic and politics of race and class in ways that protected their intellectual and political voice. Oppositional intellectualism, in this case, was therefore not a rejection of power, but a reflection of it. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]