Comments

Comment on the Resource   Post a comment on this item

Statistics

This resource has been visited 959 times

This resource has been downloaded 406 times

Culture, identity and the role of higher education in building democracy in South Africa

Cloete, Nico; Cross, Michael; Muller, Johan; Pillay, Surykumarie

Abstract:

Colonialism (and apartheid) had two contradictory consequences. On the one hand, through rigid legislation, colonialism fragmented people into racial, 'tribal' and 'national' groups defined around fossilised or reified notions of 'cultural diversity' and difference. In this sense, the birth of 'cultural diversity' in Africa must be understood with reference to the colonial project. On the other hand, colonialism brought together different ethno-linguistic groups who increasingly developed a sense of togetherness around the experience of colonial oppression. As such, colonialism can be conceptualised as having had both integrative and dissipative effects. Against this background, if difference and diversity remain important and to some extent central to South African democracy, a critical question arises as to whether notions of difference and diversity should lead to strategies which reinforce centripetal rather than centrifugal, or converging rather than diverging tendencies. If, given the peculiarity of our history, this is the case, how do we best understand the nature, place, and role of difference or diversity in building democracy in South Africa at large and in higher education in particular? Further, how do we draw on difference and diversity to build unity within a democratic framework? These questions point to the need for a re-conceptualisation of diversity in South Africa. In this paper, the authors attempt to address these questions by engaging critically with prevailing theorisation of 'cultural diversity' and identity construction. This may shed light on the possibilities and limits of diversity in the context of transformation and democracy building in South Africa.

Full text available as: Pdf

 


Chapter Title: Culture, identity and the role of higher education in building democracy in South Africa
City: Cape Town, South Africa
Publisher: Maskew Miller Longman


Date:1999
Document Type:Chapter in Book (Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:National Systems and Comparative Studies
Country:South Africa
Keywords:South Africa, Higher Education and the State, Culture, Identity, Democracy, Colonialism, Diversity, Legislation Reform, Multiculturalism


File Size:138 KB
Rights:Permission to reproduce the chapter was granted by Maskew Miller Longman
Date Added:23 February 2007


Cloete, Nico; Cross, Michael; Muller, Johan; Pillay, Surykumarie (1999). Culture, identity and the role of higher education in building democracy in South Africa. In M Cross, N Cloete, E Beckham, A Harper, J Indiresan and C Musil ( eds ) Diversity and unity: the role of higher education in building democracy. Cape Town, South Africa: Maskew Miller Longman, 20-47