Social fabric in the GCR: Social cohesion
'Social fabric in the GCR' is a multi-year and multi-phase project that considers key features of our society, and key social dynamics that are either helping to knit us together as an 'inclusive' region, or tear us apart. In the first phase of this project, in 2011/12, GCRO partnered with the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation on a study into race and non-racialism in South Africa. The study involved 18 focus groups across the country, that provided a rich vein of information and insights for a set of authors invited by GCRO to write on the topic. Results were presented to a conference co-organised with the Kathrada Foundation in October 2011, and the best papers were collated into a special edition of Politikon, edited by David Everatt. See here for a summary of this first phase of the project, and access the transcripts of the focus groups.
In 2012/13 the 'Social fabric in the GCR' project moves to examine the ‘mapping’ of a range of identities in the Gauteng city-region (GCR) and assesses the extent to which they are informed by territorially defined notions of belonging such as Gauteng residency and citizenship of South Africa. The research is informed by theoretical approaches to questions of identity which emphasise its multiple and fluid nature. It explores dynamics of identity formation in the GCR, particularly with regard to processes of ‘othering’, i.e. a mapping of oppositions between and within different categories of identities and differing notions of self and other. Given the increasing visibility of racism, xenophobia, sexism and inequality in the city-region, the importance of regional and national identities in the self-definition of Gauteng residents (and in relation to other sets of identities), may be seen as critical to prospects for social cohesion.
- The commencement of a process of writing up an analysis of the social fabric of the GCR by drawing on the 2009 and 2011 survey results;
- The preparation and production of a research report. The following year will see the writing of a journal article based on this
Outputs in 2012/13
- An analysis of social fabric in the GCR based on survey findings
- Research report on identity and social cohesion in the GCR.