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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:South Africa: conceptualising a politics of human-oriented development
Author:Habib, AdamISNI
Year:2008
Periodical:Social Dynamics
Volume:34
Issue:1
Pages:46-61
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:development
democracy
power
political change
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02533950802078921
Abstract:The evolution of South Africa's democratic transition is conditioned by the structural configurations of power. As a result, a human-oriented development agenda is dependent on a political programme that prioritizes engaging these structural conditions and trying to transform them to make a different set of socioeconomic variables viable. How this can be theoretically conceptualized, and the elements comprising this political programme, is the substantive focus of the present article. It first analyses the diverse academic literature on democracy and development, drawing out the political lessons from comparative development experiences and applying them to South Africa so as to determine how best to establish the political condition for a human-oriented development trajectory. It then draws together the various strands of the analysis and reflects on the political implications of the dispute about who was to succeed President Mbeki in the African National Congress (ANC) which played out between 2005 and 2007. It concludes that not only is human-oriented development a product of political process, it also requires an intricate mix of representative and participatory democratic elements. This mix is meant to create a substantive uncertainty, which is the political foundation that generates the accountability between elites and their citizens so necessary for realizing a human-oriented development agenda. For South Africa, in this historical period, five actions can be identified as useful for increasing the leverage of poor and marginalized citizens, thereby enhancing the substantive uncertainty of both national and global elites: electoral reform; the establishment of a viable, competitive political system; the erosion of the corporatist institutions and processes that have tended to proliferate in South Africa since the early 1990s; the emergence of an independent, robust plural civil society; and a strategic foreign policy. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]
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