In 2013 and in 2014 respectively, the South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS) and Politikon (the South African Journal of Political Studies) celebrate their 40th anniversary. Also, in April 2014 South Africa celebrates twenty years since the advent of the post-Apartheid democracy, and the birth of the ‘rainbow nation’. This book provides a timely account of the birth and evolution of South African politics over the past four decades, but also of the study of Political Science and International Relations in this country. Fourteen political scientists contribute chapters to this volume, situating the study of politics within its global context and recounting the development of politics as a field of study at South African universities. The fourteen contributions evaluate the state of the discipline(s) and suggest conclusions that are surprising and in many instances unsettling, not only with regards to what and how politics is taught, but also how its study has variously gained and lost pertinence for South Africans’ understanding of their own polity as well as its place in the world. The implications are uncomfortable, and pose interesting challenges for South African scholarship, pedagogy and national self-reflection.
This book was published as a special issue of Politikon.