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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Reflections on transformation and the role of the intellectual: a critical essay
Author:Ridge, Stanley G.M.
Periodical:The English Academy Review (ISSN 1753-5360)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:social change
political terminology
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10131752.2015.1086163
Abstract:'Transformation' and 'intellectual' are often terms of debased usage in political discourse. This has implications for conceptualizing and directing desirable socio-political development. In South Africa, the terms are often used in ways which intentionally or unintentionally avoid fundamental change by emphasizing superficial markers of progress and downplaying critical engagement. By analysing several recent texts in which the term transformation is used in different ways in South Africa, and by exploring the history of the word in socio-political discourse, this article suggests some of the challenges which a rich sense of the word might have for the project of socio-political change. It then establishes the importance of the intellectual and of intellectual engagement for transformation. It refers to and explores briefly the work of some prominent intellectuals in post-colonial situations, with a particular focus on recent instances in South Africa concerning justice and ubuntu. Against this background, the article then sketches something of the transformation necessary in South African universities if they are to fulfil their function as institutions both promoting intellectual engagement and fostering the ability to undertake that engagement. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]