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Contradictory transformations: observations on the intellectual dynamics of South African universities

Sheehan, Helena (2009) Contradictory transformations: observations on the intellectual dynamics of South African universities. Journal for Critical Education Policy Studies, 7 (1). ISSN 1740-2743

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What sort of expectations of transformation of higher education have been aroused by liberation movements? Has the new South Africa fulfilled such expectations? This paper explores the promises and processes that have enveloped South African universities in recent decades. It focuses on the underlying assumptions shaping academic disciplines in the humanities, the debates contesting them and the social-political-economic movements encompassing them. It traces the impact of marxism, africanism, postmodernism and neoliberalism on the production of knowledge. It concludes that South African universities are caught up in a complex field forces where they are subject to conflicting pressures. The result is a state of contradictory transformations – one stemming from the politics of liberation and the other from the demands of the global market.

Item Type:Article (Published)
Uncontrolled Keywords:history of ideas; production of knowledge; academic transformation; new South Africa; liberation movement; marxism; africanism; postmodernism; neoliberalism; academic disciplines; humanities; psychology; history; literature; african studies; post-apartheid; black consciousness; subaltern; afrocentrism; ideology; theory;
Subjects:Social Sciences > Education
Humanities > Philosophy
Social Sciences > Sociology
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of Communications
Publisher:Institute for Education Policy Studies
Official URL:
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License. View License
ID Code:4537
Deposited On:30 Apr 2009 15:09 by Helena Sheehan. Last Modified 04 Aug 2009 11:53

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