n South African Journal of Higher Education - (Em)bodying affirmative action within a sociality of meaning making

Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article examines the necessary shift to a sociality of meaning-making for university entrants if the goals of affirmative action within higher education, and the possible effects of its continued application, are to be fulfilled. Given that the practice of education in universities is meant to be the organisation of knowledge in ways that 'allow certain truths to break through' (Badiou 2000, 61), the article contemplates the extent to which universities as knowledge arrangers are able to instigate processes that advance the shared capacity of students to become more than the situation in which they are (Badiou 2001). It asks whether affirmative action processes can assist in achieving this goal. In doing so, it raises a bigger question within higher education in South Africa, namely how the increase in university numbers of students that would not have been categorised as white under apartheid, may be operating alongside the continued impoverishment and marginalisation of communities previously designated African, Coloured and Indian under apartheid to perpetuate what Soudien refers to as a skein of white hegemonic thinking within the higher education sector.

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