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Wits University Press

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Thiven Reddy examines post-apartheid politics in South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy

South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal DemocracyWits University Press is proud to present South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy by Thiven Reddy:

In South Africa, two unmistakable features describe post-apartheid politics. The first is the formal framework of liberal democracy, including regular elections, multiple political parties and a range of progressive social rights. The second is the politics of the “extraordinary”, which includes a political discourse that relies on threats and the use of violence, the crude re-racialisation of numerous conflicts, and protests over various popular grievances.

In this highly original work, Thiven Reddy shows how conventional approaches to understanding democratisation have failed to capture the complexities of South Africa’s post-apartheid transition. Rather, as a product of imperial expansion, the South African state, capitalism and citizen identities have been uniquely shaped by a particular mode of domination, namely settler colonialism.

South Africa, Settler Colonialism and the Failures of Liberal Democracy is an important work that sheds light on the nature of modernity, democracy and the complex politics of contemporary South Africa.

Offers a radical, dissenting and original analysis of contemporary South Africa.

- Colin Bundy, Oxford University (Emeritus)

With impressive theoretical sophistication, Reddy draws upon ideas from a range of theorists and scholars to create a conceptual toolkit for an empirically grounded analysis of contemporary South African politics. This is a book that South African political studies has been waiting for.”

- Harry Garuba, University of Cape Town

Reddy’s book is an important attempt to provide us with a framework for understanding present-day South African politics. Working critically and productively against conventional political science paradigms, this work comes at a crucial junction in the afterlife of apartheid.”

- Anthony Bogues, Brown University

About the author

Thiven Reddy is a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Studies, University of Cape Town. His previous publications include Hegemony and Resistance: Contesting Identities in South Africa.



Chapter 1. Modernity: Civil Society, Political Society and the Vulnerable
Chapter 2. The Limits of the Conventional Paradigm, Modernity and South African Democracy
Chapter 3. The Fanonian Paradigm, Settler Colonialism and South African Democracy
Chapter 4. The Colonial State and Settler-Colonial Modernism
Chapter 5. Nationalism, ANC and Domination Without Hegemony
Chapter 6. Elites, Masses and Democratic Change
Chapter 7. Crisis of the National Modern: Democracy, the State and ANC Dominance

Book details


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