Doctoral Degrees (Anthropology)

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Women in patriarchy in Lesotho: a deconstructive study
    (University of the Free State, 2005) Molapo, Ethel Lea 'M'ajonathane; Erasmus, P. A.
    𝑬𝒏𝒈𝒍𝒊𝒔𝒉 The motivation for this study was a realization of the need to seek from the perspectives of both males and females the different meanings and experiences of patriarchy. Through reviewing existing feminist theories and explanations in Anthropology it became clear that the focus is, to a large extent, only on female views and experiences. The phenomena of patriarchy can thus not be understood and interpreted in terms of the total socio-cultural context which encompasses it. As is suggested by the title of the thesis, Lesotho was chosen as the research area. Lesotho has a pre-industrial, migrant labour driven, subsistence economy where traditional values seem still very much reflecting on gender relations. The study was conducted in Peka, in the Leribe district, where six villages were selected. The research took as its point of departure an insider perspective. The emphasis, therefore, was on data collecting by means of unstructured interviewing, participant observation and life histories. Regarding the analysis and interpretation of the qualitative data, an inductive analytical strategy was followed. Apart from that, an important emphasis was placed on deconstruction. Surprisingly handbooks on social research are not dealing with the topic and guidelines for practical application almost do not exist. Therefore, it was necessary to develop an own methodological approach. The deconstruction of ethnographic texts provided access to the mode in which patriarchy is/was constructed, constituted and entrenched in Basotho customs, beliefs, practices, social relations, family life and institutions. It detects the shifted, deferred and concealed meanings of patriarchy, it reveals that patriarchy hinders gender equality and that it has several facets, and that male and female informants viewed, understood, explained and experienced patriarchy differently. In conclusion, the possibilities, on the one hand, for future research on the methodological refinement of the deconstruction of ethnographic texts, as well as on the other hand, the challenges to the Basotho government and society in order to address gender discrepancies and inequalities, are adumbrated. ___________________________________________________________________
  • ItemOpen Access
    After the triumph: an anthropological study into the lives of elite athletes after competitive sport
    (University of the Free State, 2015-12) Grundlingh, Susanna Maria; Gordon, Robert
    English: The decision to retire from competitive sport is an inevitable aspect of any professional sportsperson’s career. This thesis explores the afterlife of former professional rugby players and athletes (road running and track) and is situated within the emerging sub-discipline of the anthropology of sport. I consider the elite sports culture within which athletes apply their sporting trade and show how the everyday life of elite athletes is shaped by the mass media and a culture of individualism. The elite sports culture informs how athletes perceive their bodies after sports retirement. By drawing on the notion of the sports body as a machine I show that professional rugby players disregard the potential future ailments that they may live with once their rugby careers are over. The importance of social networks established during their sporting careers is also explored with specific reference to the role that schools and universities play in promoting social capital. The research, moreover, hopes to contribute to knowledge about the afterlife of sportspeople by considering the interconnectedness between elite athlete’s private decision to retire from sport and the public representation of their sporting lives through sport heritage practices. The study of sports heritage in South Africa has been a largely neglected and hitherto closed field of study. The study concludes that the material culture of South African former sport heroes enables them to live on near perpetuity, as they become symbolically immortalised through sport heritage practices Conceptually this thesis draws on the theory of social capital, the body, the notion of symbolic immortality, and the politics of memory and heritage practices. Empirically, sport museums as expressions of heritage are investigated with specific reference to the preservation of South African rugby heritage at the Springbok Experience Museum in Cape Town and an analysis of the Comrades Marathon House museum in Pietermaritzburg. Besides these, I also visited places where the material culture of former South African sport heroes are exhibited. These included the houses of sports collectors, community sport museums, corporate sport museum, sport stadia and sport heritage exhibitions at prominent South African rugby schools and universities. Semi – structured interviews were conducted with former professional rugby players, athletes and sport heritage practitioners. Participant observation at sport events that commemorated sportspeople of the past also substantiate the findings. Primary sources drawn from the South African Rugby Board’s archives contributed to the understanding of rugby heritage practices prior to the professional era.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Afrikaner values in post-apartheid South Africa : an anthropological perspective
    (University of the Free State, 2011-07-27) Van der Merwe, Jan Petrus; Erasmus, P. A.
    English: The aim of this study is to conduct an investigation from an anthropological perspective, on the impact that post-apartheid South Africa has had on the Afrikaner’s judgement of value, as well as on his identity-formation. Afrikaner values comprise therefore the central theme of three of the main articles, while narratives, myths, religion and identity represent the focus of incidence of the other two articles. Up to and including 1990, an official Afrikaner identity existed, which was largely determined by a grand narrative that was constructed around church membership, an association with political power and party membership, as well as membership of cultural organisations such as the Broederbond. After 1994, the loss of this official identity, has marginalised Afrikaners and plunged them into an existential crisis. In this regard, this study will point out two factors, namely that the Afrikaners’ emotional and intellectual ties with the Afrikaans culture, churches, politics and the Afrikaans language in the post-Apartheid dispensation are in a process of changing, even becoming attenuated; that Afrikaners are increasingly pursuing a new, cosmopolitan identity and way of life. Although commentators differ regarding the question as to what effect the post-apartheid dispensation had, and is still having on Afrikaners, it is undoubtedly true that the political and social transformations that South Africa has undergone since 1994 have indeed been far-reaching in nature and that these transformations largely took the great majority of Afrikaners by surprise. Afrikaners clearly were not prepared for the changes that ensued, with the result that after a period of fifteen years they are being confronted with the dire necessity to reflect on their values, their solidarity, their identity, as well as their role and place in the “new” South Africa. Recent anthropological information on the Afrikaner is limited – Afrikaans anthropologists have largely neglected the study of the changes that the culture and identity of Afrikaners have undergone since 1994. As a result, the contributions of Afrikaans-speaking anthropologists to the discourses surrounding current issues that affect the Afrikaner (religion, morality, identity, narratives and myths), and the characteristics of the so-called “new” Afrikaner, are relatively limited. In this regard the broad aim of the current study is to conduct a comprehensive ethnographic investigation into the current tendencies in Afrikaner culture and identity. Afrikaner values would thus be used as the point of departure from which the ethnographic material will be explored.