PEACEBUILDING, RESTORATIVE JUSTICE, SOCIAL JUSTICE: TRANS-DISCIPLINARY RESEARCH USING BRICOLAGE

This section explains the use of bricolage as a research approach to capture the complexity of South Africa’s history of violence, peacebuilding and present growing inequality. It has been suggested that in its contemporary sense, bricolage involves the process of using methodological processes as needed ‘in the unfolding context of the research situation’. In addition the bricolage can be described as the ‘process of getting down to the nuts and bolts of multidisciplinary research [… to] move beyond the blinders of particular disciplines’ (Kincheloe, McLaren & Steinberg (2011:168). As Denzin & Lincoln (2011:4) stated, the qualitative researcher may be viewed as a ‘bricoleur, a maker of quilts, or in filmmaking, a person who assembles images into montages’.

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BOOK REVIEW: ‘THE TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION.’ MARY BURTON

Mary Ingouville Burton was a Truth Commissioner and is a prominent anti-apartheid veteran. After nearly two decades, one nuanced fact emerges starkly about TRCs as rightfully stated by the author in her concluding chapter, TRCs cannot deliver reconciliation ‘even if they help to lay a foundation of widely acknowledged truth’ (p137). On the one hand, TRCs acknowledge a truth that victims already knew and/or suspected with regard to its detail; and it provides a degree of catharsis for those who have narrowly been defined as victims. On the other hand, truth in this context serves to disrupt blanket denial by perpetrators and beneficiaries; and it offers them the gift of relationship level reconciliation, to add to their compounded privilege in a global market democracy that continues to favour them structurally. So essentially, TRCs cannot deliver transhistorical justice unless mandated to do so by the state. This is a discussion which requires several books specifically from the epistemic location of the oppressed. Currently, this space is dominated by beneficiaries of oppression. The fact that these authors are mainly honest and progressive long time activists, has a silencing effect when it come to a rigorous critique of the centrality of whiteness in scholarship on South Africa – a majority black society plagued by the past which is still present but defined out by Transitional Justice boundaries. Having set the parameters at the outset, the book then focuses on factual information from chapter one to seven, with regard to the context of state level transition within which the TRC operated. Chapter eight provides a deeper reflection that goes beyond the immediate ‘in the moment’ challenges faced by the TRC and its staff, but stops short of an analysis that places the TRC within the enduring structure of violence.

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CO-PRODUCING KNOWLEDGE ON DENIAL

Black scholars […] have been seduced by the false assumption that the goal of academic freedom is best served by postures of political neutrality, by … methods that belie the reality that our very choice of subject matter, manner, and style of presentation embodies ideological and political signifiers. […] Academic freedom is most fully and truly realized when there is diversity of intellectual representation and perspective. (bel hooks, 1989:64-65).

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