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The post-apartheid public sphere in South Africa has been characterised by race tensions and distrust. Socio-economic inequalities and structural unemployment are contributing to widespread crises. In addressing the conceptual and empirical questions relating to the transition to democracy, the contributors to this volume take the questions of culture and identity seriously, drawing attention to the creative agency of citizens of the 'new' South Africa. They raise important questions concerning the limits of citizenship and procedural democracy. STEVEN L. ROBINS is Professor of Social Anthropology in the University of Stellenbosch North America: Ohio U Press; South Africa: David Philip (PB)
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Steven L. Robins is a Lecturer in Anthropology at the University of the Western Cape.Review:
The ending of apartheid and creation of a new democratic state in 1994 provided the opportunity to establish a new socio-economic and political system that would redress the inequalities of the past and also create a major economic and political player, between the socialist ideal and neo-liberal economic reality in contemporary South Africa. The 12 chapters (divided into three thematic sections) provide examples of this contradiction at various scales and institutions, concluding that solutions to this gap lie in the everyday struggles of both citizens and policymakers. While by no means the first attempt to tackle this issue, this collection successfully grapples with both theoretical and empirical issues underlying this dilemma, exploring the implications of the South African experience for broader theories of liberalism and democracy. ... I highly recommend this book to those concerned with the post-apartheid South African state as well as those with an interest in theories of democracy and citizenship. Indeed, the development of such important theoretical ideas should not be confined to the 'South Africa' library shelves or literature debates. Indeed, the movement away from an emphasis on social equality towards the prominence of socio-cultural group differentiation is a worldwide trend, and perhaps experiences in South Africa can serve as the blueprint for elsewhere. - Charlotte Lemanski in AFRICAN AFFAIRS
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