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Research and Publications

SAAPS Research Committees

Objective: Facilitation of research specialisation and networking within the SAAPS community

Contact Details:
Prof. Joleen Steyn Kotze
Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
Telephone:  041 504 2123

Activities: The establishment of a system of informal study groups (SGs) and more formal research committees (RCs). Once a study group has developed core interests and believes that it needs more structure, for example, to pursue research projects, it can apply to SAAPS for limited funding, as well as permanent space in colloquia and congresses.

SAAPS supports the following study groups:

Gender Studies

The Gender Caucus within SAAPS attempts to provide a platform for political scientists who do research on gender issues to talk about their research and concerns.

It also raises consciousness regarding the male dominant nature of political science within the profession.

The goals of the Caucus is to create more visibility for gender research through drawing attention to publications of gender scholars, to inform colleagues of new gender research and gender conferences and to network its members with members of similar caucuses internationally.  It also attempts to provide a visibility for its members within IPSA.

At the moment three political scientists are taking responsibility for the running of the caucus. Please contact:

African Politics

For more information on this group, please contact:

Political Theory

The Political Theory caucus works to circulate important theory journal notifications and book launches through its online platform.  The research group also plans colloquiums around important political theory question.

For more information on this group, please contact:

Quality of Democracy

We are excited to have a new caucus at SAAPS looking at the quality of democracy in Southern Africa. The caucus was initially inspired by a similar working group that forms part of the IPSA network. In the caucus meeting at the 2014 SAAPS conference it was noted by those attending that democracy is an important subject area for study in South Africa, but it can be imagined in different ways by different scholars. For this reason members decided to take an inclusive approach to the study of democracy within the caucus, which will hopefully ensure as many researchers as possible feel encouraged to join our group.

The caucus does not as yet have any firm plans for meetings or projects; however collaborative research is something we would like to work towards. In light of this we encourage all members to specify their broad area of interest. Some areas already identified by members include: democratic structures and political institutionalisation; democracy and intergovernmental relations; democratic practices at the local level; elections; the role of opposition parties; party politics and internal democracy; democracy and socio-economic issues and civil society and democracy.

We also encourage SAAPS members to invite scholars in the region who work on issues of democratisation to join our caucus. If you are interested in joining, or following our activities, please email who is based at the University of the Western Cape, with your contact details and general area of interest regarding your research.

  • Dr Fiona Anciano
    Department of Political Studies
    Economic and Management Sciences
    University of the Western Cape
    Phone: 021 959 32228/ +27 829361529
    International Relations

For more information on this groups please contact:

South African Politics

The Objectives of the Group are to:

  • encourage original primary research on different aspects of South African politics. It should move beyond polemical public debates, political comments and journalism and should set a standard of research that can be used as the reference sources for other researchers. Research on South African politics done in South Africa should be considered as most authentic with a high level of credibility.
  • promote peer interaction amongst South African politics researchers and lecturers in order to form a scholarly community. Mechanisms to achieve it should be explored and used such as joint research projects and publications, and regular meetings. A newsletter or other forms of regular communication as a means to circulate information of common concern can be used. The overall objective is to enhance the status and prominence of political scientists focused on South African politics, because often persons in other fields (including journalists) are the main authors of South African political publications.
  • promote a professional approach in the relationship between political scientists and the media, especially with respect to issues in South Africa, and in the process promote the relevance of Political Science as a discipline in South Africa.
  • encourage more awareness of new publications appearing in the field and to promote the use of events (seminars, conferences, workshops) to share and discuss research on South African politics.
  • encourage postgraduate studies in South African politics and to establish a network of available supervisors and examiners.
  • share the teaching curricula on South African politics used at various universities and to discuss teaching approaches.

The Focus of the Research Group

Noting that the focus areas of most of the other Research Groups can overlap with this one, it is presumed that no Research Group will have an exclusive claim on a particular focus area. Without presenting an exhaustive list here, the focus areas include a South African political perspective on: political parties, elections, public policy, constitutionalism, parliament, judicial politics, government and governance, political economy, civil society, political history, political philosophy, environmentalism, development, human rights, conflict resolution, peace and security, political culture and values, democracy, and the state.

Contact details:
Dirk Kotzé, Department of Political Sciences, Unisa, Pretoria, 012 429-6512 / 082 789 7401

SAAPS Publications

SAAPS publishes a biannual conference proceedings and a working paper series in alternate years.  For more information please contact Prof. Joleen Steyn Kotze.