UJ/HSRC Covid-19 Democracy Survey

The University of Johannesburg’s Centre for Social Change in partnership with the Human Sciences Research Council’s (HSRC) Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES) division, has, since April 2020, been conducting an ongoing cross-sectional survey among adults living in South Africa to determine the social and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. The survey has been conducted in three rounds and been available in six languages (English, isiZulu, isiXhosa, Setswana, Sesotho and Afrikaans). The survey’s main aim is to determine public perceptions of the economic, social and political impact of Covid-19 on life across the country.

Democracy from Below

This project is a collaboration between the Centre for Social Change (CSC), University of Johannesburg (UJ), the Centre for Sociological Research and Practice (CSRP) and the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources, North West University. The aim of this project is decolonize and re-theorise democracy through building scholarship that engages with the meaning of democracy as conceptualised in South Africa’s indigenous languages and to understand how democracy is practiced in the everyday. The project is guided by two main objectives, one, to build a body of knowledge about the conceptualisation and expression of democracy in South Africa’s official languages and, two, to situate the analysis of democratic thought in South Africa within local histories and practices of democracy in everyday life. To achieve these objectives the project uses a mixed-methods approach. The quantitative element of the project deploys a multi-lingual online survey to measure perceptions and meanings of democracy. This is followed by qualitative interviews that seek to probe and expand upon the findings in the quantitative research. This project is funded by the       National Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Changing the narrative on economic rights

In partnership with the Centre for Economic and Social Rights, the CSC will be embarking on a new project concerned with thinking through how economic rights can be framed as human rights in pursuit of contributing towards a radical rethinking of economic power and economic systems. The focus of this project will be on supporting interventions linked to narrative change around economic rights within campaigns led by social justice organisations. The project will unpack the existing narrative landscape on economic rights and contribute towards initiatives on building new narratives. This project is funded by the Open Society Foundation.