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Research Initiatives-Society and Social Change

R. Sooryamoorthy

Collaboration and productivity of scholars in South Africa

The study  examines the research activities of scholars in academic and research institutions in South Africa over a period of time to understand how the use of new information technology, networking, and collaboration are impacting on their research productivity. The broad objective of this study is to understand growth, changes and the patterns that exist in the South African scientific system through the study of scholars and their research communication, research activities and research collaboration. The following are the specific aims of this study:

  • To study the existing patterns of research communication of scholars.
  • How does the use of the Internet and electronic communication facilitate scientific collaboration of scholars, domestically and internationally?
  • To examine the effects of the Internet and electronic communication on professional networks scholars.
  • To find an answer to the question of whether  collaboration—domestic and international—influences the productivity of scholars and how this affects the production of knowledge.
  • To explore the interrelationships between the use of electronic communication, collaboration and productivity of scholars.
  • To identify the trends and patterns  regarding the use of the Internet and electronic communication, scientific collaboration and productivity of scholars over the years.

D. Bonnin

  • An investigation into, and an analysis of, the changing geographies of the Home Textile Sector of the South African Textile Industry, 1970-2012.
  • Supply chain accounting and employment practices in the rising economies: global commodity chains, cost effectiveness and competitiveness.

N. Chellan

Livelihood Strategies of Indigenous Communities within the Contexts of Unbridled Capitalist Development and Nature Conservation: Case Studies of the Mountain Community of Mnweni in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and the Koh Sirai Sea Gypsy People of Phuket, Thailand

This research looks look at indigenous communities in developing countries so as to ascertain the hardships they face, with regards to the politics of development, and the livelihood strategies that they embark upon in order to overcome such hardships. It also seeks to understand why the one community, in the face of impending natural disasters, choose to remain on their land whilst the other show patterns of migration within the same rural landscape.

M. Goedhals

Nuns, Land, Townships, Life Histories

My main research project relates to nuns in Southern Africa, with particular reference to the development of indigenous communities,  gender roles and status in the church, as well as their work in education and health. Secondly, I am involved in research related to land restitution and the church, and thirdly, I am working on the church in the townships in KwaZulu-Natal with from the perspectives of gender, race and class.   Within these broad themes, I am particularly interested in exploring life history, biography and identity.

S. Khan

My current research projects are:

  • Safe and Inclusive cities in collaboration with Brazil and Mumbai
  • Interfaith marriages within the Indian community in the Durban Metropolis
  • Land and Local Economic development in the Sisonke Municipality, KZN
  • A comparative analysis of indigenous people and key challenges between the SAMI community in Sweden and South Africa

V. Noble

Becoming Nokunzi: The Swiss Doctor Maria Kunz and Healthcare in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, 1930s-1980s

At present, I am working on a collaborative research project with Marcel Dreier, a Swiss colleague from the University of Basel on the history of a Swiss woman missionary doctor. Dr. Maria Kunz came to South Africa in the 1930s and over many decades, pioneered the provision of district and hospital health care services to rural communities in the Glen Grey District in the eastern Cape region. Research for this project is being conducted in Switzerland, Germany and South Africa.

M. Seedat-Khan

My life at sea: glam or damned? A sociological investigation into the work and family life experiences of seafarers in the port city of Durban

G. Vahed

Identity, Belonging and Place in post-apartheid South Africa: A Case Study of Chatsworth

This study examines questions of identity, belonging and place in post-apartheid South Africa through an ethnographic exploration of the township of Chatsworth, which was home to several hundred thousand Indians during the apartheid era but is becoming increasingly deracialised. Some key questions / concerns include the ways in which ethnicity, race, and class are sustained and remade in post-apartheid South Africa; the impact of economic policies on material conditions; impact of affirmative action policies; major social problems; importance of civic organisations as a resource base; the meaning of non-racialism, and the relationship between race, belonging, transnationalism and citizenship in post-apartheid South Africa. This study aims to deepen our understanding of identity and belonging and how people view place in their everyday lives.


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