State, democracy and development: An exploration of the scholarship of professor (Archie) Monwabisi Mafeje
Funani, Luthando Sinethemba
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The departing point of the thesis is that the neglect of African's intellectual heritage within the South African Universities and in public discourse undermines the ability of the post-apartheid government to set its developmental agenda and maximize its democratic potential. The thesis highlights the neglect of Professor Mafeje's scholarly contribution as an example of this neglect and argues that an engagement with his scholarly output might have differently shaped the debate on the thematic issues that are covered in this study. Against this backdrop, this study explores Mafeje's scholarly works in the areas of state, development and democracy, specifically focusing on the insight that we can garner from his scholarly works that will allow us to re-examine the challenges of development. In this context Mafeje's work is examined and situated within the social history of his milieus. The study employs social constructionism to explore the scholarship of Professor Mafeje. An important aspect of this theoretical framework is social embeddedness. Brunner (1990:30) has argued that it is culture, not biology that shapes human life and mind. The important aspect of this approach is that it acknowledges that the way we commonly understand the world, the categories and concepts we use, are historically and cultural specific. Mafeje's ideas make sense when located within complex social contexts in which they were produced. Because he was not producing knowledge in a vacuum, an understanding and appreciation of his ideas must be located within the social history that produced them.