School of Social Sciences

Debby Bonnin

Debby Bonnin

Debby Bonnin Position: Senior Lecturer
Discipline: Industrial, Organisational and Labour Studies

Degrees (Undergraduate – PhD)

BSocSci (Hons) University of Natal, Masters Social Science University of Natal, PhD (Sociology) University of Witwatersrand

Contact information

  • Phone 031-2602512
  • Email:
  • Office address – Room F168, Industrial, Organisational and labour Studies,  1st Floor, Memorial Tower Building, Howard College

Research interests

  • In my current research I am looking at the changes in the work of textile designers and the global supply chain in the home textiles sector.

Selected Publications

  • Gender, age and the politicisation of space during the time of political violence in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Gender, Place and Culture.  Published online: 10 June 2013 .
  • Global integration, new technologies and the work of South African textile designers, South African Review of Sociology, 44:2, 2013, pp. 112-130.
  • Editorial – Towards a South African Sociology of Professions. (with S Ruggunan), South African Review of Sociology, 44:2, 2013, pp. 1-6.
  • The domestic worker’s place in the madam’s space.  The construction of the workspace in the home of Muslim madams (with Q Dawood). South African Review of Sociology, 44:1, 2013, pp. 55-71.
  • Changing Work in the Context of Globalisation. Working Life Stories of Textile Designers in South Africa.  Loyola Journal of Social Sciences, Vol. XXV, No.2, Jul-Dec 2011, pp 191-215.
  • Political Violence – Disrupting Ways of ‘Doing’ Politics: An
    Exploration of Organisational and Political Life in Mpumalanga Township,
    1970s-1980s. Journal of Natal and Zulu History, 29, 2011, pp 101-130.
Development and new forms of democracy in eThekwini.  Urban Forum.  18, 2007, pp 265-287. (with R Ballard, J Robinson & T Xaba).
  Legacies of political violence:  an examination of political conflict in Mpumalanga Township, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Transformation. 62, 2006, pp 59-83.

Unions, training and development:  a case study of African seafarers and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). South African Journal of Labour Relations. 30 (1), 2006, pp 76-90. (with S Ruggunan & G Wood).


  Training and Development in the maritime industry:  the case of South Africa.  Human Resource Development International, 7(1), 2004, pp 7-22. (with T. Lane, S. Ruggunan & G Wood).
  “I am poor, I must start all over again”. The impact of political
violence on household economies: A case-study from KwaZulu-Natal. Society in Transition, 32 (2), 2001, pp 306-325.
  Claiming spaces, changing places, political violence and women’s protests in KwaZulu-Natal. Journal of Southern African Studies, 26 (2), 2000, pp 301-316.
  “We went to arm ourselves at the field of suffering”, traditions, experiences and grassroots intellectuals. Labour, Capital and Society, 32 (1), 1999, pp34-69.
  Spatiality in the construction of identity:  African women and political violence in Kwazulu-Natal. Society in Transition, 28 (1-4), 1997, pp. 27-42.


Organising Production (IOLS201H1): The main focus of
this module is to examine and understand the way in which paid work is
organised and structured in modern industrial societies.  This
will involve an exploration of how the nature and design of work has
evolved in modern workplaces (both manufacturing and professional).  Various theoretical perspectives, as well as debates, will be drawn upon to facilitate an analysis of this process of change.  Work in current times has undergone a number of transformations.  Some of the key debates that will be highlighted are managerial control vs autonomy, the nature of skill, and flexibility.

Economic Policy, Labour Markets & Job Creation (IOLS305H2): The main focus of this module is to understand the problem of, and the possible solution to, unemployment in South Africa.  First it is necessary to understand the context within which this challenge is located.  The
module is divided into three themes (SA economic policy, labour
markets, unemployment), each providing you with information that should
allow you to assess and contribute to job creation policy.

Women, work and employment (IOLS707H2):  To explore the effect of gender transformations on work, employment and economy.  The course will explore feminist and gender theory, the gendered economy and measures of gender transformation at work.


Recent Supervision

  Dawood, Quraisha . Questioning Intimacy: exploring relationships between
Muslim ‘madams’ and their ‘maids’ in the North Beach area of Durban,
IOLS Research Masters. 
  • Fortwengel, Johann. The International Division of Labour in the Automotive Industry. Master of Arts (Global Studies), University of KwaZulu-Natal and Albert-Ludwigs Universitat Freiburg.
  • Karla Kloepper. Mega-event hosting as urban development strategy – The case of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Master of Arts (Global Studies), University of KwaZulu-Natal and Albert-Ludwigs Universitat Freiburg.
  • Rowe, K. Bottlenecks/Constraints within the local labour market for Engineers in the Petrochemical Industry Sector.  IOLS coursework masters dissertation.
  Ruggunan, S .  Transformation of the labour market for seafarers from 1970:  A case study of South African, Filipino and British seafaring labour markets. Phd thesis.
  Mayr, A .  The construction of the global city.  Master of Arts (Global Studies).
  • Muller, Andrea .  The impact of neoliberal globalization on women’s rights:  A case study of Argentina.  Perceptions of women and experts in the Greater Buenos Aires area.  Master of Arts (Global Studies), University of KwaZulu-Natal and Albert-Ludwigs Universitat Freiburg.
  • Mehrle, S 2007.  Women and HIV/Aids in sub-Saharan Africa.  An
    analysis of national and local responses to the feminization of the HIV
    epidemic in South Africa and Uganda using online publications.  Master of Arts (Global Studies), University of KwaZulu-Natal and Albert-Ludwigs Universitat Freiburg.
  • Schindler, S 2007.  Understanding urban processes in a global age.  Master of Arts (Global Studies), University of KwaZulu-Natal and Albert-Ludwigs Universitat Freiburg.
  • Wong, M.L. 2007.  Is there a reconfiguration of the dependency relation between the global north and global south?  A comparative analysis of foreign direct investment (FDI) treands in China and the United States.  Master of Arts (Global Studies), University of KwaZulu-Natal and Albert-Ludwigs Universitat Freiburg.



    Community Involvement

    Palmridge Neighbour Hood Association (chairperson 2006-2011)  Ordinary member 2012.