n South African Journal of Higher Education - Voices from the margins : towards conservation of local knowledge in psychology during incorporation

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



The Department of Psychology of what was previously Vista University has recently been incorporated into a number of different institutions as part of the transformation of higher education in South Africa. During the 21 years of its existence, this department had developed particular local expertise in response to the unique opportunities offered by the predominantly black student population they had served and the geographical location of the campuses in townships. However, this kind of expertise is threatened with extinction in the face of the incorporation. Criteria such as local relevance, respect for indigenous knowledge and knowledge application in local township contexts, tend to be silenced in this process. This article describes a response to this situation in the form of a research project aimed at conserving and documenting the local knowledge developed in this department. It explores marginalisation and voice in power / knowledge fields peculiar to the incorporation process and argues for a reconceptualisation of university knowledge towards social responsiveness and an epistemology of uncertainty and inclusiveness.

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