AA 2016 Volume 48 Issue 1

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  • ItemOpen Access
    Vernacular or not? Preliminary thoughts in developing a methodology to understand the imijondolo
    (University of the Free State, 2016) Whelan, Debbie
    The informal dwelling could be considered a cultural universal in its global replication as immediate shelter prompted by modernism and modernisation. Simultaneously, one could argue that such buildings are of vernacular construction, most being assembled of found materials in a manner which satisfies the various definitions of vernacular architecture. Interrogating the interface between the informal dwelling and traditional or vernacular accommodation could assist in disentangling the position of the informal dwelling. Furthermore, this understanding could provide insight into appropriate methods of addressing the informal housing issue. This article presents preliminary thoughts in which the archetypal Zulu dwelling or iQhugwane is used as a control against informal dwellings or imijondolo constructed on urban peripheries in KwaZulu- Natal, South Africa. Using spatial anthropology and architectural analysis, comparative linkages between the traditional and the contemporary could aid in positioning the informal dwelling as an architectural vernacular, and suggest a prognosis as to its architectural and cultural sustainability.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A critique of Kwasi Wiredu’s humanism and impartiality
    (University of the Free State, 2016) Molefe, Motsamai
    This article offers a critical reflection on Kwasi Wiredu’s moral theory. On the one hand, the article is concerned with the meta-ethical question regarding the nature of moral properties, specifically, whether they are physical (natural) or spiritual (supernatural). On the other, I reflect on one facet of Wiredu’s normative theory, namely, whether morality is best captured by partiality or impartiality in the African tradition. With regards to meta-ethics, this article reflects that Wiredu’s rejection of a spiritual (supernaturalist) foundation of African ethics is unsatisfactory; I also contend that he does not offer a satisfactory defence of physicalism. I conclude by observing that a plausible meta-ethical theory, either physicalist or religious, is yet to be elaborated within the African tradition. Secondly, I argue that Wiredu’s normative theory is characterised by a feature – impartiality – that is at odds with much of African moral intuitions. Assertions like ‘charity begins at home’ seem to suggest that African ethics should be read in terms of partiality rather than impartiality.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The changing ethos of the university: living with supercomplexity
    (University of the Free State, 2016) Van Niekerk, Petro
    The rationale for the article was to problematise the dominant market ethos and corporate bureaucratic organisation practices prevalent in universities throughout the world and currently the cause of great concern among many South African academics. In response to this phenomenon, theoretical research via a literature study was undertaken to explore new modes of thinking through the lens of Barnett’s concept of supercomplexity. The study highlighted the importance of new coping strategies to deal with complex issues in a constructive way. By accepting that conditions of supercomplexity cannot be managed in an atomistic and mechanical way and should rather be done by flexible and continual mapping of existing challenges and by foregrounding multiple contestability, I argue that the university during times of supercomplexity should focus on interrelationships between different sectors of the university to re-establish mutual trust relationships. I plead for an appropriate sense of slowness and a focus on the academic core to enable the institution to function more reflectively and appropriately within an age of supercomplexity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Report to the academy: power and ethics in humanities research
    (University of the Free State, 2016) Stolp, Mareli
    This article discusses a case study to explore notions of academic freedom and freedom of speech in the post-apartheid South African university. The focus is on the ‘managerial turn’ in university management and in particular its utilisation of ethical regulation in humanities research. I argue that, in the case in question, managerial power mechanisms co-opted ethics into processes of censure and censorship. Ethical regulation in the humanities has been on the increase in South Africa and internationally in recent decades; I posit here that ethical regulation can be used as a managerial power mechanism in the control of research output. This has significant implications especially in the context of post-apartheid transformation of South African universities. I further posit that emergent and risk-taking research open up new spaces for exploration and investigation, and that the benefits of this kind of research must be balanced against possible ethical complexities.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Race silence: the oversignification of black men in “the crisis of/in masculinities” in post-apartheid South Africa
    (University of the Free State, 2016) Dube, Siphiwe Ignatius
    The “crisis in/of masculinity” is a concept now used worldwide to draw attention to problems confronting men, despite its American origin focused on documenting the responses of men to changing work and family structures. In the context of South Africa, the concept has been further used, especially, in the analysis of such social phenomena as gender-based violence and unemployment. While this gendered lens has offered useful insights it has also relied heavily on a primary focus on the negative elements of masculine attitudes and behaviours. Moreover, in the South African context, the concentration on black men’s experiences has given exaggerated emphasis to the destructive and anti-social aspects of such experiences, which have also been incorporated into both thin and thick descriptions of a general construction of “black masculinities”. The result, as this article shows with regards to an analysis of certain South African research on “black masculinities”, is that black men are held responsible for social ills. The article examines debates dealing with representations of “black masculinities” in South Africa and urges for more complex analyses of such masculinities. Such analyses should take into account the nuanced ways in which both “hegemonic masculinities” and “black masculinities” are constituted and contested.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Broaching questions of race and racism through personal journals: an analysis of the reflections of students who selfidentify as black
    (University of the Free State, 2016) Conradie, Marthinus; Brooks, Mariza
    This article reports on a study of the reflective journals produced by a sample of undergraduate university students in which they consider the relevance of questions surrounding race and racism to their own lives, based on their engagement with post-colonial literature. Using a discourse analytic framework, the article focuses on the discursive frames that structure respondents’ reflections on the different manifestations of racism after 1994. We discuss the influence of the politeness protocol across the findings, based on Sue (2013), and interpret the findings by drawing on narratives of ambiguity in Soudien (2010). Finally, we make suggestions as to the pedagogic implications of the results by linking our study with Leonardo and Porter’s (2010) theorisation of safety in race dialogue.