Acta Academica - latest Issue
Volumes & issues
Volume 47, Issue 2, 2015
Author Nigel C. GibsonSource: Acta Academica 47, pp 1 –18 (2015)More Less
A romantic figure of "Third World" revolution and Black liberation, Frantz Fanon is often considered an advocate of violence as liberation therapy. Questioning the idea of Fanon as a romantic with an a priori set of ideas that he simply applied to new situations, I discuss the importance of contextualising Fanon's work historically and dialectically. In addition, I am interested in how Fanon's psychiatry papers, written while he was practising as a doctor in North Africa, provide another terrain to help elucidate Fanon's active involvement as a situational critique.
Author Yvonne JoosteSource: Acta Academica 47, pp 19 –33 (2015)More Less
In this article I reflect, against the background of the recent special issue of this journal titled: "Law as humanities discipline: Transformative potential and political limits", on the notion of radical intellectual equality within the context of South African legal education and culture. I suggest that this notion, postulated by Jacques Rancière's reflections on pedagogy, can foster notions of criticalness and critical thinking and provide new ways of thinking about legal education in an effort to disrupt and actively question the continuous legacy of legal formalism and scientism. A different way of staging legal education, along the lines of invention and thought from within universal teaching, might be able to reveal transformative and emancipatory possibilities. I call for a radical redistribution of South African approaches to legal education.
A (Tall) Tale of Two Sisters : integrating rhetorical and cognitive-pragmatic approaches to explore unreliable narration in filmAuthor Johanet KrielSource: Acta Academica 47, pp 34 –53 (2015)More Less
There is a sustained debate in the academy about the role of narratology in film studies. This article forms part of this larger debate in exploring the application of the concept of unreliable narration to films, specifically to Jee-woon Kim's little-known but exceptional film A Tale of Two Sisters (2003). A dispute surrounding this narratological device has centred on how readers or viewers determine that the narration deviates from diegetic truth. Two major strands of narratology have given divergent answers to this question: the rhetorical approach has been in favour of aligning diegetic truth with an "implied author", while the cognitive approach has called the implied author into question, instead focusing on the viewer's construction of the diegetic truth. This paper investigates the possibility of integrating the two approaches in terms of the viewer's construction of ethical judgements and cued inferences, which would open up a new avenue for considering this narrative device.
Author Harry SewlallSource: Acta Academica 47, pp 54 –71 (2015)More Less
This paper derives its impetus from a question an elderly American woman once asked me: "Do people in South Africa know Elvis?" "Of course we South Africans know Elvis!" I replied. Or do we, really? Using a historiographic approach, this paper is an attempt to explore how Elvis Presley's image was first imported into South Africa, especially during the Apartheid era when there was no television and media censorship was a fact of daily life. Additionally, this essay will reflect on the impact of the media - then and now - in creating images, fantasies and illusions in constituting the subjectivity of the Elvis of real life and the Elvis of sound, stage and celluloid in the South African musical imaginary.
Author Chris J. Van VuurenSource: Acta Academica 47, pp 72 –101 (2015)More Less
The contribution of anthropology to the study of shelter in Africa has been found wanting. Social Anthropology in Africa and South Africa in particular has been guilty of this neglect, while scholars from the Volkekunde paradigm have been documenting house, settlement and material culture since the early 1900s. This neglect by anthropology as a discipline could be remedied. The anthropologist as a fieldworker is ideally positioned to study local knowledge and its manifestations and transfer in the earth building world. Among others the resultant research could contribute to our understanding of how poor people use earthen building knowledge to adapt in changing environments such as informal settlements.
Author Eyo MensahSource: Acta Academica 47, pp 102 –138 (2015)More Less
In Cross River State, South-eastern Nigeria, languages incorporate a number of loanwords as personal names as a result of increasing contact with other languages and cultures. Such words are, therefore, borrowed wholesale or adapted phonologically into the onomasticon of the recipient languages, thus gaining wide-ranging acceptance, currency and usage. This paper examines the phenomenon of language contact and naming in three linguistic communities along the Cross River Basin - Agwagune, Ejagham and Lokaa - in relation to Efik, a dominant language and culture, which itself is in constant contact with English. The paper seeks to show the intricate interrelationship and direction of influence between personal names in the donor and recipient languages, taking into account ethnic hierarchies, and social formations that are found in the context where personal names are given and used. The study relied on Thomason and Kauffman's (1988) integrated theory of language contact as its theoretical plank, which maintains that there is a strong tendency for speakers of less powerful languages to borrow from the economically and politically powerful languages to enhance their internal resourcefulness. Since names are lexical items in a language, they are not immune to this contact influence. Audio-video data and text materials were elicited from sampled respondents who were contact names bearers and their community members through an ethnographic qualitative approach. The paper concludes with the claim that the interplay of forces like trade, religion and other socio-cultural factors are the main vectors of name borrowing, which are social praxis for negotiating cultural boundaries and relationships as well as indexing the notion of power, personhood and sociocentrism, given the effect of contact. The paper, therefore, sheds some light on ethnic mechanisms of shared social behaviour signalled by shared personal names, as it attempts to understand local settings in greater depth.
Author Deborah MachardSource: Acta Academica 47, pp 139 –162 (2015)More Less
This study explores school choice and school commuting within the City of Johannesburg, with specific reference to enrolment in low cost inner city private high schools. The study found that the majority of learners enrolled in these schools were black and hailed from upper working class or lower middle class homes. Although most commuted to school, the schools also serve a resident inner city community. That is, private school enrolment is partly due to the changing land use patterns of the Johannesburg inner city, from residential to commercial. While much of the inner city has been transformed into housing, there has been no provision of essential social infrastructure such as public schools, leaving residents with little choice but to enrol in a private school, despite their low incomes. Learners from peripheral areas such as Soweto and Alexandria embark on a financially and socially costly school commute in order to access what they perceive to be quality education. That is, parents perceive these schools to be good academic performers, to be 'disciplined' and to offer quality teaching. These parents are shunning the no-fee, public township schools, deeming them dysfunctional and poorly resourced. It does appear that access to quality education in South Africa is becoming linked to ability to pay school fees - not only for the wealthy but also for those of lower socio-economic status.
Author Peter G. KirchschlaegerSource: Acta Academica 47, pp 163 –191 (2015)More Less
From the perspective of a collective a e.g. a religion, culture, tradition, society, or civilisation, human rights can seem to be an individualistic approach undermining the community. This negative view of human rights can be enhanced by the claim of the universality of human rights provoking connotations of imperialism, colonialism, and neo-liberal globalisation. The call for a "universal culture of human rights", which can sound like the striving for a uniform culture, also strengthens these fears. Finally, a philosophical and social discourse about the groundings of human rights faces the challenge that human rights are defined as "un hecho del mundo" (Rabossi 1990: 161) - as a "fact of the world" - neglecting the need for a justification of human rights. Based on an analysis of the relation between human rights and religions, the following article will discuss the above-mentioned misunderstandings and deliberate on human rights as a "steering notion" of social theory and philosophy in their interaction with religions.
Author Mariana KrielSource: Acta Academica 47, pp 192 –194 (2015)More Less
As part of an ongoing research project, I tried recently to critique a scholarly article on Afrikaans language activism published in 2013 by one of Afrikaans's leading activists, Wannie Carstens. I use the term language activism here as it is used in sociolinguistics - to refer to organised action aimed at language promotion, including the planning, institutionalisation and maintenance of a language, and the defence of language rights. Titled "The story of Afrikaans: Perspectives on the past, present and future", Carstens's article propagates reconciliation among Afrikaans speakers, arguing that it can be achieved inter alia by telling the "objective", complete and inclusive story of Afrikaans - the story of its "white and brown and black speakers". For too long, the author claims, the white history of Afrikaans has been represented as the history of the language to the detriment of its "brown and black" speakers and to the detriment of the language itself. For Carstens, non-racialism, inclusivity and unity are both goals in themselves and means to another (more important?) goal: the survival of Afrikaans. By the author's own admission, his article proceeds from the premise that "without reconciliation in the Afrikaans community, there can be no future for Afrikaans" (2013:22).