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Who is SAAPS?

The South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS) came into life in May 2001, as the result of the merger of the South African Political Studies Association (SAPSA) and the South African Chapter of the African Association of Political Science (AAPS-SA). The Association is the official body of the disciplines of Political Science and International Relations in South Africa.

The primary international affiliations of SAAPS are the International Political Science Association (IPSA), the African Association of Political Science (AAPS), and the World International Studies Committee (WISC).

Our Vision Statement

SAAPS is dedicated to the promotion of the discipline of Political Studies in South Africa and the African continent.

To achieve this the association aims to:

  • Support the development of South African scholars and teachers in a demographically balanced manner;
  • Develop and implement a sustainable research agenda;
  • Establish regional and global linkages with similar associations;

In order to effect these objectives, SAAPS shall strive to:

  • Maintain the academic excellence of its journal, Politikon;
  • Undertake regular marketing and membership drives, with a special emphasis on the recruitment of emerging and student scholars;
  • Enable members to participate in conferences and other activities by rotating these events between different academic institutions; and
  • Recognise outstanding contributions to the discipline and the association by way of special awards.


The official journal of the South African Association of Political Science is Politikon, published by Francis & Taylor (Routledge). Politikon articles are currently noted in ABC Pol Sci, Advance Bibliography of Contents, GEOBASE, Index to South African Periodicals, International Development Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, and Political Science and Government.

SAAPS hosts biennial national conferences. In the alternate years, the Association presents the Research Colloquium. The conferences take the usual professional association congress format. Research Colloquia are somewhat more informal, and scholars are encouraged to present work-in-progress, beside conventional research papers. In 2013, various regional Collquia will take place in September and October. The 2014 Biennial Conference will be hosted by the South Africa. Details are to be announced later.

Aims and Activities

The main aims and activities of SAAPS are to:

  • Perform an educational function by promoting knowledge and understanding of national and international political affairs through teaching, workshops, discussion and study groups, seminars, conferences, publications and research;
  • Encourage contact and stimulate relationships among individuals and Institutions concerned with the systematic study of national and international political affairs;
  • Perform empowerment functions through a special emphasis on the encouragement and facilitation of emerging and student scholarship.

Governing structures

An elected Council and an Executive Committee govern the affairs of SAAPS. The latter consists of the president, vice-president and secretary-treasurer. Office-bearers are elected at a general members’ meeting that coincides with the Association’s Biennial Conference. The Secretary-treasurer manages its financial affairs. The last elections were in September 2004.


Academics, students, practitioners, and anybody interested in the disciplines of Political Science and International Relations are welcome to join. See Join SAAPS for current information on membership fees.