Online Reading Course: The Political Economy of the South African Transition
This online course is offered by ILRIG as part of the ongoing task of political education that can give activists a basic and solid foundation to better understand and analyse both historic and contemporary political, economic and social realities in South Africa. The main purpose of this course is not only to expand knowledge horizons and to lay the basis for participants to sharpen their intellectual and analytical skills, but to directly link this to advancing our collective work and struggle for radical political, economic and social change. Readings are designed to provide ideologically diverse, practically informed and activist-intellectual ‘vehicles’ in the search for meaningful, grounded explanations, understandings, analysis and action. Crucial issues about the state, forms of political power, social relations and mass resistance and struggle for change will be surfaced.
Presented according to a historical timeline from the late 1980s until the present, the course is divided into eight (8) modules, with two modules per historical period. Each module will span a period of two (2) weeks to give enough time for participants to read and fully engage with the readings as well as key questions posed for each module.
You should start each module by carefully reading the material for that module which has been provided for you in the reader (also included on this website). After you have completed the reading for each module, you must pay attention to the key questions that have been posed for the relevant module.
|Assignment due dates
|Late 1980s – mid 1990s
|1: The political context: from liberation to accommodation?
|Week 1 & 2
|Assignment 1: end of week 4
|2: The economic context: engaged realism or conscious retreat?
|Week 3 & 4
|Mid-1990s – early 2000s
|3: Corporatizing state and society: theory, practice, consequence
|Week 5 & 6
|Assignment 2: end of week 8
|4: The politics of class formation
|Week 7 & 8
|5: The ANC-Alliance and the ‘management’ of South Africa’s transitional contradictions: A crisis of democracy and development?
|Week 9 & 10
|Assignment 3: end of week 12
|6: The state, social movements and resistance from below
|Week 11 & 12
|2007 – present
|7: Capital, labour and socio-political relations in conditions of crisis
|Week 13 & 14
|Assignment 4: end of week 16
|8: Zuma, the rule of the ANC and the possibilities of change
|Week 15 & 16
This course will be assessed via a series of assignments which you need to submit at different times throughout the duration of the course. You will not be required to write an examination. All of the assignments can be completed by you at home.
You need to submit your assignments via email or WhatsApp. If you submit your assignment via email, send your assignment to the following email address: ilrigonlinecourse@
You must submit your assignments on or before the due date for each assignment – late assignments will not be accepted unless you provide a satisfactory explanation. You need to submit all of the assignments in order to pass this course. See the course calendar for the due dates of each of the 4 assignments.
When you submit each assignment, please include the following at the top of the first page:
- The assignment number (example: “Assignment 1”)
- Your full name and surname.