ISDUB- Ivor Chipkin
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ISDUB - International Sociological Debates


Ivor Chipkin

The dark side of democracy: nation, nationalism and identity of the "people"

Presentat pel Dr. Peter Wagner CECUPS- Projecte Tramod
11 de desembre de 2013, 17 h.
Aula Magna
Facutat d'Economia i Empresa
Diagonal 690
Universitat de Barcelona
Basant-se en l'experiència Sud-africana, la presentació d'Ivor Chikin explorarà les múltiples respostes polítiques a la qüestió més bàsica de la democràcia: identificar 'el poble' en el nom del qual el poder és conferit ostensiblement. Chikpin argumenta que els moviments democràtics, quan es basen en la figura del poble, porten al terreny de joc tendències potencialment contradictòries, incloent tendències que subverteixen la promesa mateixa de democràcia.

Drawing on the South African experience this presentation will explore the multiple political responses to democracy's most basic question: identifying the 'people' in whose name power is ostensibly vested. I will argue that democratic movements, when they animate the figure of the people, bring into play potentially contradictory tendencies; including tendencies that subvert the very promise of democracy itself.

More info on the conference in the ISDUB webpage
Ivor Chipkin completed his PhD at the Ecole Normale Superieure in France and was based at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) between 2001 and 2004. He received an Oppenheimer fellowship in 2005 and took up a position at St Anthony’s college at the University of Oxford. He spent 4 years in the Democracy and Governance Programme at the Human Sciences Research Council where he acquired an intimate knowledge of government departments and agencies. In 2007 he published Do South Africans Exist? Nationalism, Democracy and the Identity of ‘the People’ with Wits University Press. Ivor has also published widely on questions of government and governance in South Africa. He has also written widely on questions of government, governance and the State. He is currently finishing a new book on the history of public sector reform in South Africa and its consequences for development and democracy.

More on the PARI Research Institute Website
El Llibre: Do South Africans Exist?
Do South Africans Exist? addresses a gap in contemporary studies of nationalism and the nation, providing a critical study of South African nationalism, against a broader context of African nationalism in general. Narratives of resistance, telling of African peoples oppressed and exploited, presume that ‘the people’ preceded the period of nationalist struggle. This book explores how an African ‘people’ came into being in the first place, particularly in the South African context, as a collectivity organised in pursuit of a political, and not simply cultural, end. The author argues that the nation is a political community  whose form is given in relation to the pursuit of democracy and freedom, and that if democratic authority is lodged in ‘the people’, what matters is the way that this ‘people’ is defined, delimited and produced. He argues that the nation precedes the state, not because it has always existed, but because it emerges in and through the nationalist struggle for state power. Ultimately, he encourages the reader to re-evaluate knee-jerk judgments about the failure of modernity in Africa.
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 2013 Grup de recerca CRIT - Departament de Teoria sociològica,

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