Recent acts of xenophobic violence in South Africa have highlighted the question of borders – borders between nation-states, borders between migrants and South Africans, borders between those identified as foreign and those accepted as South African, borders between those with jobs and those without, borders between those with access to basic services and those without, and borders between men and women. While economic globalisation has ensured the smooth traversal of borders in the flows of raw materials, goods, services, money, and, increasingly, people (providing cheap labour) necessary for the continued productive capacity of the economy, it has also resulted in calls for the strengthening of national borders, and for increased policing of people crossing borders.
The borders which lock wealth in at the level of the nation-state, are replicated within countries – often deepening the borders between the few who have access to wealth and powers, and the majority who do not. These often deepen already inscribed borders defined along a range of identities, most particularly those of race, gender, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation.
This conference seeks to pose fundamental questions about citizenship, power and identity in South Africa, and how they are related to societal cohesion and conflict, and to place them against both the history of the country and the Southern African region, and its trajectory since the end of apartheid. It will also encourage the comparison of the South African developments with experiences in Africa and internationally.
The 2009 Congress of the South African Sociological Association (SASA) provides a platform for debate around these and related questions.
Dates: 28 June to 2 July 2009
Venue: University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg
For more information, click here.