Lunchtime Seminar: The political economy of corruption: elite-formation, factions and violence


The political economy of corruption: elite-formation, factions and violence

Date: Tuesday, 23 April 2019
Time: 12h00 – 13h30 (lunch will available from 12h00)
Venue: Smit Marine Seminar Room, Level 5, Kramer Law Building, Middle Campus, UCT

ABSTRACT: The prevailing public narrative about corruption tends to present it as a matter of moral failure on the part of a number of individuals (and perhaps an organisation) and legal failure on the part of state institutions. The presentation will attempt to reframe ‘corruption’ as an important element in processes of class formation in post-apartheid South Africa, and ‘looting’ as a form of primitive accumulation on the part of a nascent elite. These practices are embedded in moral orders through which they are rendered legitimate and justified in the South African context. The presentation will explore the question whether this constitutes an alternative accumulation model to that presented by globalised ‘neoliberalism’, and discuss also the necessity for Ramaphosa to establish a stable elite coalition within the ANC, and likewise the challenges that make this an unlikely prospect. Finally, the prospects for an alternative counter-movement for embedded development will be considered.

BIO: Professor Karl von Holdt stepped down as Director of the Society Work and Development Institute (SWOP) at the University of the Witwatersrand at the end of 2018, where he remains as Senior Researcher. Current research interests include popular politics, movements, democracy, informal political systems, and violence. His two major current research projects focus on neoliberalisation and popular politics across the Brics countries. He has co-authored with Michael Burawoy (influential US sociologist, recent president of the International Sociological Association) Conversations with Bourdieu: the Johannesburg moment (2012) which has attracted international attention and reviews. Karl has worked extensively with trade unions, social movements and the post-apartheid democratic government in South Africa. He served as coordinator of the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ September Commission on the Future of Trade Unions (1996-97) and edited the South African Labour Bulletin, an independent labour-oriented journal (1988-94). Prior to joining Wits University in 2007, he was a Senior Researcher at the COSATU policy institute, Naledi (2000-2007).

Tue, 23 Apr 2019 –

12:00 to 13:30

Smit Marine Seminar Room, Level 5, Kramer Law Building, Middle Campus, UCT

Contact Information:

Click here for directions to Middle Campus.

Please RSVP to Amilinda Wilkinson: Tel: 021 650 3288

Permanent link to this article:

Custom Contested