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History and Ideology in Apartheid South Africa:

Learning from Progressive, Intellectual Engagement


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Short abstract:

This historiographical study seeks to reveal how leading intellectuals both took part in and tried to change the apartheid system. At the same time, it will expose the nature and genesis of the racially and socially divided South African society. This will necessitate the exploration of a wide range of scholarly contributions on the relation between race, class, and identity. Through a rethinking of the classical conflict between liberal and radical schools of thought in South African historiography, the project aims to produce new knowledge of the importance of history for politics, public opinion, and responsible agency, partly in the hope that this can further the understanding of the multicultural and politico-economic challenges that continue to confront South Africa and the region. My project sets itself the task to uncover the most important positions in the dispute between the historians, to explore the prerequisites and the course of this historical debate, and to clarify to which extent the paradigms have shown to be respectively converging or incompatible. The project is primarily focused on the scholarly contributions from historians and adjoining social scientists in the research debate. It poses these questions: To what extent have historians seen race prejudice or conflicting ethnic identities as the decisive factor in the institutionalisation and legalisation of racial discrimination? To what extent have they considered contradictory material interests, for instance those between labour and capital, as the crucial reason for segregation/apartheid? To what extent, how and by whom were historical research results from this debate used in the political struggle during apartheid? How did the historians relate to that kind of applied history? In what way have they justified their viewpoints and actions as historians? The question, if South African history writing was actually liberated with the fall of apartheid, also seems to be relevant. It is highly problematic that South African history writing to a great extent continues to reflect the priorities of the white minority. The pace of change and transformation of the history profession has been rather slow. Several of the mechanisms of exploitation uncovered by the academic debate have parallels to global apartheid issues of today, including new international divisions of labour, trans-border migrant work, and culturally repressive xenophobia. My approach is that it is fully possible to demarcate and analyse a central ideological clash between historians and simultaneously provide a broad and readable overall picture of the history debate. The research is expected to result in the publication of a volume of approximately 450 pages.


Since the fall of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has moved through different phases, driven by the aspiration of equal rights and better living conditions for all. While the official, idealist conception of politics has evolved from “rainbowism” to “African renaissance”, [1] the economic recipe has developed from grassroots redistribution to marked liberalism in the attempt to sustain economic dynamism. [2]

With past experiences in mind, one might expect to find a vivacious interest in historiography, but the study of history in South Africa has in fact suffered periods of serious decline. [3] During segregation and apartheid, historical research was used extensively to seek solutions on problems of contemporary importance. Most of the great debates on South African history have had hidden agendas mirroring vital problems of later days than the period presumably described: the creation of the myth of the empty interior that legitimised colonial expansion; the discussion of the frontier theory, outlining the self-identification of the Boers on the isolated border – and establishing their guilt for later events; the formulation by early liberals of “protective” segregation; the later liberal critique of dysfunctional elements in the apartheid policy; together with the construction of a working class tradition by radical historians, provide illustrating examples of history used for ideological mobilisation. [4] On certain levels, the history of the apartheid epoch is still being used for the purpose of nationbuilding under the ongoing transformation process. [5]

My research deals with patterns of use and abuse of history during formation of class and group identity and national unification in South Africa. The importance of history and historians in the making of the South African society will be discussed from various angles. Through a historiographical lens with a specific focus on the academic debate between liberal and radical scholars, this project will reveal new aspects of the historical development of the present South African democracy, partly in the hope that this will further the understanding of the political, cultural, and economic challenges that continue to confront it. The development of social and ethnic barriers and prejudices in the South African society throughout the 20th century will be illuminated through an examination of divergent scholarly opinions on segregation and apartheid.

This project is dealing with ideological turning points, intellectual breakthroughs, central academic personages, and fundamental institutions in the international world of history writing. It pursuits intellectual history in the making.


The presentation of the problem

The broader objective of this research is to produce new knowledge of the importance of history for politics and ideology through a rethinking of the classical conflict between the liberal and radical schools of thought inside South African historiography - and of the interaction between these academic tendencies and society. I will do so mainly by examining a wide range of the most important analyses made on relations between race, class, and identity in South African history together with analyses on developments in state power and in the sphere of production. In other words, my intention is to bring improved focus on historical research in the basic links between economics, politics, and ideology during South Africa’s recent history.

Although the approach is eclectic, the solution of the project will involve a more complete recording and prioritisation of the history debate than seen before.

A more specific aim is to investigate, which of the main historical-ideological schools that came closest to the historical truth in its analyses. Even if I do not expect that a definite answer to this question can be found, it provides an impetus to the search for meaning in history.

This project is far away from any kind of established, intellectual knowledge-power. Contrarily, it is grappling more or less helplessly with apparently outdated concepts. One problem arising from this research is, if the classical, left-ideological insurgency has come to an end, or if it still has some potential. [6] It seems like the historical debate between left and right has just died out without any real conclusion. Even then, issues from the debate keep cropping up again and again. [7]

Were those socialist notions, which served as an ideological inspiration for many South African social scientists, defeated once and for all at the end of the 20th century? Did socialist solutions and explanations cease to function, because they were plain wrong and unnatural; because the opposition was too strong; because they were inadequately formulated; or because they belong to the future? Should we regard the radical school’s historians as idealistic utopians, while the liberals were the useful realists? If so, was the dispute unimportant? Did it promote or undermine quality of research and professional values? Why can’t we just forget the left’s agenda?


Is it possible, or even desirable, to revitalise the dialectical, ideological dynamism of the great debate? Can it by comparison against the post-apartheid situation be determined if the forms of the history debate have become poorer - i.e. if changes in the practices of the social sciences would be preferable? For instance, unconventional angles probably need to be appreciated more than hitherto. The contributions that skilled amateurs made to the history debate during apartheid helped provoke ruptures and movements towards paradigm shifts. The connection between these contributions, popular political activity, and historical research is still a rather poorly researched field within historiography. This angle will be included in my study, where it is significant for the main paradigmatic conflict.

My research will argue that history has not ended; that the Marxist discussions of the 1970s and '80s have a persistent, progressive significance; and that the historic right-left debate has continued relevance. However, it is my hypothesis that a wakeup call to mainstream academia has to come from outside the academic world.


This project represents a further development of research I started when writing my PhD, which was conferred by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Copenhagen. Further background studies conducted during a three-year stay as Danish Research Fellow at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala have resulted in unfinished manuscripts, which are thorough and analytical, however somewhat ambiguous and vague. Earlier academic evaluations of draft manuscripts have included some critical remarks, which will be met through this rethinking of the project. This phase of the project will both deepen and broaden the analysis and transform the research into a relevant book manuscript ready for publication. The ambition is to give the work real weight and significance in the ongoing discussion on the importance of South African history writing. [8] This will require additional textual analysis, extension of the field of study, plus some rewriting and analytical elaboration of my earlier research.

My commitment to the project also comprise an obligation to utilise the research results both in relation to people and institutions in the new South Africa and in correlation with the domestic debate in the Nordic countries about NGO-participation, transitionary aid, and the continuing interest in the democratisation process in media, high school teaching etc. The core of the research however, has no specific links to my native country, Denmark, and I fail to see, why it should. 


The dominating patterns of research in contemporary history in South Africa reflect deep con­flicts external to academia. As a result of the unequal access to education, the historiographical tradition is characterised by the absence of black historians, and the education and communication of history on university level have been distinguished by the English liberal tradition's long-standing predomi­nance, although this was challenged by Afrikanerdom during the creation of apartheid and by left-radical tendencies during late apartheid.

Numerous attempts have been made to isolate and characterise the basic elements in the specific South African social order during the segregation and apartheid periods. Many of them on a highly professional level. From the beginning of the 1970s, these attempts took the shape of a scholarly discussion, whose participants, to a large extent, split into two principal camps: the liberal school and the radical-revisionist school. [9] Historians inside and outside South Africa have had a considerable role in this academic debate, which, due to the emergence of diaspora milieus of exiled researchers, quickly got a strongly international profile.

Both the conventional English-liberal school and the radical school of historians have tried to reconstruct a historical reality relevant to present problems. Both schools have used a practice, where the past is comprehended in the light of the present and the present is altered on the basis of historical knowledge. The ardent questions, raised by the historians’ immediate situation, claimed for detection of correlations in the past reality of history, and it is precisely this coherence that has made the research debate around South Africa’s past so committed and usable.

Roughly simplified, it has been the liberal stance, that apartheid has injured the free potentialities of modern capitalism in South Africa and has thereby limited both economic growth and po­litical freedom. [10] The bearing of the radical school is, basically, that the racial system has been beneficial to the ruling class, the South African capitalists, and that it operated with economic functionality and with political rationality over a long period of time. [11]


My project does not set itself the task to fully solve this fundamental disagreement, but merely to find out how vital the debate was for the history profession and the movement for democracy, uncover the most important positions in the argument between the historians, explore the prerequisites and the course of this debate, and clarify to which extent the paradigms have shown to be respec­tively converging or incompatible. It is, however, my hope that the investigation will further a wider in­sight in the nature of the apartheid society as such, since the heritage of this system continues to set the agenda in many areas of South African life.

The original working title of the project was narrowed down to: The Discussion about South Africa: a Survey of the Research Debate over Apartheid History. This formulation of the problem does not, however, imply an overspecialised angle focused exclusively on professional history writing. The research discussion around South Africa's path of development is distinctly interdisciplinary and represents some of the best examples on genuine integration of arts and letters and social studies. Anthropologists, development researchers, economists, sociologists, pro­fessional politicians, theologians and political activists have participated in this academic debate with equally great en­thusiasm, and in practice, it is hardly possible to isolate historians as having a certain, clearly defined role.

This has methodological implications. Teaching students from all faculties at CAS, Copenhagen and working together with a broad spectrum of Africa researchers at NAI, Uppsala has helped me develop a cross-disciplinary approach to African Studies. In dealing with the problem under research, however, the strongest focus is on the scholarly contributions from historians and adjoining social scientists and these contributions are treated mainly as historical writings with due consideration to differences in their nature.

It is all too easy to dismiss an outline like this as an unfocused, overarching meta-study containing insoluble methodological problems. My approach is, on the other hand, that it is fully possible to demarcate and analyse a central ideological clash between historians and simultaneously provide a broad and readable overall picture of the history debate. The large bibliography build for this project in the form of my online research databases testifies that this project will complement, not duplicate other research.


Variations in the historians’ more or less intentional attitudes to the relation be­tween class and race, between economy and culture, have had fundamental importance to South African history writing at least since the 1870s, but from the beginning of the 1970s and until the mid-90s, the discussion about the sub­stance of this relation became quite central in the research debate, and several historians have considered this a golden age of history writing. [12]

My project poses these broad-spectrum questions: what was it that made history a master tool in the final struggle against apartheid? Why did South African historians write as they did, what effects did their writings have, and how does the history views of the 1970s and the 1980s differ from those of previous and later periods?


Both in Eastern Europe and in the West, the end of the cold war has opened for a revision of post World War II historical writings, apparently to relieve history from its ideological burdens, [13] and in much the same way, the time might have come for the South Africans to take another look at the images and myths of their era of repression in the new light that their liberation has turned out to be more of a neo-liberal victory than the national democratic revolution that many had expected. In neighbouring disciplines this process started years ago. [14]

A possible impact of the project as a corrective to existing writings might emerge from the post-Cold War angle applied. Strangely enough, little research has been done on the consequences of the disappearance of the “communist threat” (here understood as the combination of proletarian internationalism and national class struggle). My expectation is that the ways of viewing progressive history – together with attitudes to the left-right debate as such – have been influenced deeply by this change.

A closely related question is how intellectual developments in the West did affect the struggle against apartheid in South Africa? The decline of Marxist knowledge-power in South Africa cannot be fully understood without grasping the political weakness of Western university Marxism in the advanced capitalist countries. Moreover, a new progressive, intellectual wave will hardly come about without developing an understanding, locally and internationally, of what was lost with the end of the moment of Western Marxism in South Africa. Even if the influence from Soviet-Marxism on the ANC and other popular movements were studied by apartheid ideologists and liberals, the question of why it left so few lasting imprints, has not been answered. Were most of the radical-revisionists actually progressive liberals taking a detour, using neo-Marxism as career instrument?


My project maps the profession: to what extent have historians seen race prejudice or conflicting ethnic identities as the decisive factor in the institutionalisation and legalisation of racial dis­crimina­tion? To what extent have they considered contradictory material interests, for instance those between labour and capital, as the crucial reason for segregation/apartheid? To what extent, how and by whom were historical research results from this debate used in the political struggle during apartheid? How did the historians relate to that kind of applied history? Did the close interaction between academia and civil society influence their professional integrity? In what way have they justi­fied their viewpoints and actions as historians? These are some of the questions that the project takes as its starting points.

The investigation of the historians’ understandings of central issues such as the relation between race, class, and nation will concentrate on their specific writings, which will be contemplated as objectively as possible and in the light of the historical age and scenery in which they were created.


If this project contributes in any small way to a revival of the fundamental argument among historians about social-racial discrimination as a decisive element in the political economy and, as a consequence of that, in the creation of mentalities in South Africa, it will have fulfilled its purpose. 


The relevance of the problem

From a definition of historiography as the history of historical writing, [15] there is an obvious need for historiog­raphical research in South Africa. Despite of many short articles and chapters that touch on historiog­raphical matters, less than a handful of syntheses in book length are available, and most of these are outdated and written from a rather traditional liberal perspective. [16] Newer analyses have been narrow in scope or limited in size. [17]


Even after 30 years, many of the provocative contributions, which opened the liberal-radical controversy, appear persistently present due to their principled theoretical and methodo­logical approach. Yet, in the light of neo-liberal victories and post-structural interventions, they seem unsatisfactory understood and communicated and call for new attempts on his­toriographical syntheses.

From the beginning of the 1990s, the South African history debate as such has been decreasing. Converging tendencies can be traced and the classification of the historians into ideological boxes is often doomed artificial and ran­dom. Some of the participants in the debate even consider that the rightwing/leftwing controversy is no longer a controversy, and that the discussion has rendered itself superfluous. [18] My hypothesis is, on the contrary, that the ideological debate is far from con­cluded, but will, in spite of inclinations to some kind of new harmony, continue to stimu­late dialectics and dynamics inside South African historical research and encourage inter­action with the surrounding society. [19]

In spite of numerous partial attempts, the radical-revisionist school never presented a complete, alternative synthesis of South African history. The closest to this is perhaps still the introductory chapters in the three collective works Shula Marks has edited together with Tony Atmore, Richard Rathbone and Stanley Trapido respectively. [20] Even though the radical school fulfilled a need for corrections to earlier history writings, and despite post-apartheid governmental initiatives for a new, unified, national history writing, [21] the need for critical, independent syntheses, which under a progressive government might get the same potency as Walker’s and Davenport’s general history works enjoyed under earlier periods of liberal academic dominance, [22] still exists. Unfortunately, not much is happening in this direction and most history writers seem to be stuck in some kind of paradigmatic limbo, barred from genuine rethinking of the ideological debate (some would say paralysed or disciplined by external influences like cut backs, restructurings, and the growing dominance of neo-liberal think-thanks). [23] If a new historiographical breakthrough is to be realised in a professional way, fresh analyses of the impact of earlier history writing are required. [24]


It is my assumption that the liberal-radical history debate, which culminated in the late 1980s was on the whole very stimulating for both productivity and quality in South African historical research, and thus I find it difficult to accept that this discussion and the related interaction between academia and society should just fade away in favour of some kind of more or less static consensus in the area of basic approaches - or be substituted by purely intellectual experiments isolated from broader progressive forces in society. [25]

The tendencies among historians to an individualised concern for more or less exotic subjects also seem worrying to me. [26] Empathy and good insight into the feelings and everyday needs of ordinary people should probably originate directly from progressive political tendencies. Structural analyses do not and should consequently be a priority for historians and other researchers who wish to contribute to the democratic process.

Too much recent historical writing addresses the history of relatively minor, peripheral matters in a jargon-ridden way while more or less abandoning adherence to causation. In South Africa, where they do not have the luxury of a large historical profession, too few historians are now handling the big issues, such as the underlying nature of apartheid and the importance of its structural heritage for the transition from apartheid to a social democracy. [27]

This project is not a narrow case study,  or an exercise for the sake of an exercise, rather it is a broad discussion on the role of history writing in the fostering of progressive, societal development, and what is at stake here is, among other things, if Marxist inspirations, given this background, still could have a role to play.


Of one reason or another, important historical questions have been left aside lately. Was the truth-value of the liberal project obvious already from the early apartheid reforms of the 1970s - or did the democratic breakthrough succeed only due to the militant revolution threat of popular movements?

Logically, what at the present stage could be interpreted as the odd, common victory of the freedom movement and the liberal forces ought, together with the assumed ending of racial discrimination, bring political economy back to the forefront in South African historical research, and simultaneously raise the need for the positions to be summed up. Instead, the debate has just disappeared.

In the last instance, a continued exploration of liberal and radical theories of change, and of the discussion between their agents, also prior to 1994, is a necessary prerequisite for deciding whether expectations to the outcome of popular struggles have been fulfilled or not. From the perspective of the radical intellectuals: did a revolution take place? It seems to be a difficult matter to decide if those anti-apartheid activists, whose main motive power was social indignation, fought in vain. Can historical studies help to measure that?

To determine this problem in satisfactory detail, one would have to develop methods, which could hold together surveys of popular, pre-1994 expectations with post-apartheid, socio-economic developments and compare the results with central theories and predictions of the liberal and radical traditions respectively. Even if it is not the ambition of this book to reach such a level of analysis, its attempt to combine a broad focus on political-historical orientation of histories with deep exegesis of individual texts from these two principal schools, may lay the ground for future studies of that kind.


Pre-understandings and premises

Contemporary history is always described from the author’s place in the present. From what position, then, will my research strategy be implemented? Lately, it has become fashionable among academics to start a paper heading or research question with the word “beyond” (…post-colonialism, ...identity, ...gender, or whatever). Probably to signal the forward-looking and knowledge-creating value of the project. If topics including Marxism are taken up nowadays, they often come with the phrase “revisiting”.

My writing pays no consideration to fashion and I have been criticised for being out of date from the start. A review of an edited book, which I initiated in 1987, postulated that South Africa was chosen as a subject because “it is the last place on earth where dauntless trade union leaders fight monopoly capital the good old way”. [28] A review of another edited book published in 2007 stated that “with longing and some sense of desperation, it harks back to the issues and debates of the 1970s”. [29] Both of these critiques are partly correct. I hope to support and renew the agendas ridiculed in these reviews. [30]

I doubt very much that we are beyond the radical-liberal debate. This debate is a reflection of some of the most basic societal divisions. And – despite great developments in the areas of political representation and formal equality of rights – class contrasts have not changed fundamentally in South Africa. [31] For that reason, issues from the left-right debate keep popping up all the time. These problems diffuse into academia, even if Marxism today is typically used in an indirect, muted way on narrowly limited subjects.

Most often scientific research is done in an attempt to make new discoveries; to be at the cutting edge of intellectual developments. In the case of my research, it is also done because; I feel that, at this moment in time, my area of social science research is not moving forward at all. On the contrary; we are experiencing a backslash, and I am afraid that we are going to lose something precious.


The general situation in South African academia, after 1994, has been a growing consensus between progressive liberals and soft radicals. [32] Everything seems to show that many of the more open-minded, post-radical historians are increasing their influence at the English-speaking universities in co-operation with undogmatic, political liberals (declared economic liberalists are still fairly rare in these circles) and it could be argued that the influence of former radicals in practice are actually greater now than in their celebrated heydays of the 1970s and ‘80s. [33]

My research is, however, built on the assumption that attempts to amalgamate liberal and radical points of departure, relating to the relationship between racism and its social background, into broader and more generally formulated statements within South African historiography will have a difficult time getting very far. Racism always appears as part of a more extensive complex of motives and views, and it will only be possible to agree on a common view on, for instance, effects of socio-economic changes, if this view is based on a somewhat concordant analysis of the relationship between racism and underlying interests of the various sections of the population. [34]   In the same manner, it is only possible to find common views on the effects of economic growth on income distribution or similar central factors, if based on coincident positions on the mechanisms that determine the division of income and welfare in society. This in itself presupposes a certain agreement on the role of the private sector, government power, and ideology in the communal/societal process. The judgments of historians in cases of existing or past reality depend to a certain degree on their ideas of an alternative society. Despite a great deal of new thinking focused on general values, ethics, gender, religion, culture and ecology, for example, new visions will probably in the last instance still have to relate to more or less clearly formulated liberal or socialist welfare-oriented ideological models. [35] Any attempt to undo the nature of the liberal-radical controversy itself will therefore run into some general problems. [36]

Another of my assumptions is that the disappearance of a concrete socialist developmental model, as incomplete as it may have been, has made the radicals less radical, and one can ascertain that, at the moment, the places and forums where the more comprehensive and fundamental questions are left open and where the debate has been centred on more specific historical problems, or pedagogical and practical solutions, are, unfortunately, also the places where some kind of research debate is developing despite a more beleaguered situation for history. [37]


Early post-apartheid efforts were seemingly aimed at using the past as a unifying factor. However, concentrating on neutral symbolism seems to be the way the South African government has chosen later. [38] One senses impatience with history by a present-minded generation interested mostly in the market and its utilitarian values.

The majority of South Africans might have a past in which they can at least partly identify, namely the fight against colonisation and the freedom struggle. That, however, is not the past of most whites, and to have conflicting pasts is not necessarily very productive for a common harmonious nation building. Social protests were an important part of the liberation struggle, [39] but to stress that today would be to admit that the conflict is not over. As a result, history is often seen as peripheral, and neutral national symbols are favoured. More focus on historiography might keep the “pre-reconciliation memory” alive, which could be seen as necessary in cases where reconciliation is reduced to the right to forget conflicts without solving them. This project will include post-apartheid writings of direct relevance to the liberal-radical controversy as well as attempts to detect and counter ahistorical “reconciliation history” and postrationalisations over the apartheid legacy. [40]  


A development that was predicted by some, but which has not yet materialised, was the elevation of the freedom movements’ historiography, first and foremost the ANC’s, to honour and dignity. Many expected that with the transfer of power to a majority government in 1994, a new nationalist history writing would emerge, as had happened in other parts of Africa with the decolonisation. If South Africa really was liberated from white structural control and had been fully unchained from internal colonial, and from external neo-colonial, domination, it would have been only natural, if a bearing of African history writing, a new black consciousness, would have matured and prevailed. However, after 10 years of democracy, there are only week tendencies in this direction, and little is actually being written on the development of South African historical writing. The transfer of political power has not yet been matched by any new significant historiographical development.

There could be a number of reasons for this. To explain the absence of a new direction in South African historiography, radical authors have pointed to the nature of the negotiated revolution. [41] Liberal authors have given a partly conflicting explanation: that South African history was decolonised long before the political decolonisation of 1994. [42] I could suggest a couple of other reasons beside the obvious ones: the crisis of socialism and ANC’s move to the right. First that almost no radical African researchers have entered into the profession and so they hardly exist at the history departments. Secondly, it also seems reasonable to presume that radical liberatory history for instance became less relevant during the ANC-government’s social demobilisation.

Therefore, the question, if South African history writing was actually liberated with the fall of apartheid, seems relevant to me.

Even for one who remains sceptical to “New Africanism”, [43] it is highly problematic that South African history to a rather large extent continues to reflect the world-view of the white minority. The pace of change and transformation of the history profession has actually been rather slow. [44] This causes pain to the majority of black people and makes it less easy for South Africa to fulfil its role as an African country.


I have dealt with the present situation for the history profession in the new South Africa elsewhere, [45] and even if this situation will have some influence on the priorities, the project’s main analyses will concentrate on the writings of the 1970s and 1980s. This does not mean that the project will be merely antiquarian. Most South African history writings of importance, including the few book-size historiographical analyses made until now, contain more or less implicit political agendas. However, the genuine, ideologically committed, research debate is having a hard time at the moment. [46] Hopefully, aspects of my research, dealing with the writing of anti-apartheid histories, will be used to keep the ideals of the freedom struggle alive during the neo-liberal scenery of today. [47]


The severe social contrasts which South Africa will have to face in the years to come makes it, as I see it, difficult to believe that a paradigmatic harmony between essentially different ideologies would endure for long. [48]

The discussion about South Africa’s controversial past and its significance for the choices of the new South Africa will quite certainly arise again and resemble earlier controversies between liberal and radical historians. The fundamental disagreements between historians will reverberate throughout the academic universe when the social realities recall them once again. The way in which opinion-forming scholars have involved themselves in the left-right debate could continue to be a source of inspiration for as long as social dispute inside nation states has not become obsolete. This project was designed to support Danish, South African, and international research equally, and for that matter, it could be viewed as a continuation of the international solidarity that bloomed during late apartheid.

The official attempts to bring about the definitive liquidation of racial discrimination could once more place political economy in the centre of South African historical research. [49] The rela­tionship over time be­tween economic development and the South African state's social and race-related policies has potentially a future as a cardinal area of interest for historians, who accentuate interchange between past and present. To what extent is the history debate on the connections between apartheid and capital­ism relevant for the elaboration of strategies for economic growth and distribution of wealth in the post-apartheid situation? The ability of the free market economy to give rise to improved social conditions across colour lines will most likely prove decisive to its fu­ture forms in South Africa within a reasonably short space of time. [50]

On top of that comes the general global significance of the subject. Despite much research, the fundamental question remains open: was apartheid organised mainly around race or class? Around culture or economy? Or, in other words, can it be decided, if ethnic/cultural or if social relations are the most important for identity creation and for the discrimination of others? To find out more about why skin colour, more than social inequality, for most of the time seems to have been, and once again seems to be, the most significant consideration in social studies on South Africa, continues to be an important aspect of my research.


The investigation outlined in this synopsis falls a bit outside prevailing trends in Danish his­torical research, and not just because of a generally small interest in non-European topics among at least Danish historians (one often gets the impression that historical research needs to have direct relevance to national issues, which seems somewhat provincial to me in the present era of globalisation). The triumph of liberalism has apparently lead to an acceptance of "the fall of the models" among historians, not least within social history. Some aversion against political economy, broad social sci­ence analyses, in fact any kind of structuralist-oriented historical research, seems to have spread among scholars. [51] Nevertheless, it seems to me that any historian must experiment with models, if not of other reasons, then because even an isolated subset of historical reality is too manifold to describe in full. Histori­cal understanding requires the course of events to bee placed in a structural context. Accordingly, the decline in the use of structural theories actually commits the historian to engage in the devel­opment of im­proved historical models and ideal types.

Perhaps constructive historical models can be created by merging methods and ideas from the history discipline and development research. Some of the questions raised during work on this book point in that direction. How close is the connection between societal development level and authoritarian rule? Is economic growth created mainly during periods with market liberalism or during periods with protectionism and government economic involvement? Do the radical demands of popular movements promote productivity and competitiveness through a dialectic process, or does forced social stability promote growth at certain stages of development? Which are the most important factors in the interplay between economic necessity and political agency? [52] Under which conditions is a nation state respectively strengthened or weakened by people-driven development? Are moral condemnations of alleged historical crimes meaningless, and is one obliged to present alternative historical development models, if one persists? These questions lie implicitly in the cross-disciplinary and international South African historian’s debate, even though the responses to some extent fall outside of the framework of this study.



It is part of my expectations to the outcome of the study that:

·      Both of the main paradigms uncover quite different aspects of the same reality – with equally great talent.

·      They are not coincident and do not eliminate the need for each other's apartheid analyses.

·      They each claim their own form of objectivity, but in reality, they indirectly serve opposing politico-economic interests.

·      The analyses of the radical social scientists played a more significant role for the abolition of apartheid than the Liberals’ did. 


The methodology

A limited, selective, historical status review of the development of the discipline of historical study in South Africa, which is actually, what this project is, calls for further reflection on general study methods and theories usable for this purpose. How does one compare historical writings in a meaningful way and how can their - relative and overall - importance be measured? When one attacks this kind of topic, typically styled and of central interest to the discipline, one better have something original to say. Otherwise, the risk is exhaustion of the problem, reporting trivial changes in previous research. However, I intend to problematise what at the moment works as societal “matters of course”. Furthermore, this kind of historical investigation is to some degree about finding new ways interpreting known and unchangeable sources.


This project will take the form of an examination of works from opposing “history movements” or “trends in history writing,” mapping their characteristics through analyses of their interpretations of a highly particular so­cial de­velopment known as segregation/apartheid. As I see it, this has not yet been done in a consequent way.

Some of the importance of this project, and some of my commitment to it, come from the interest in an overall historical understanding of the politico-economic functionality and the com­plexity of the fundamental constituents/determinants of the apartheid society. It has been a key methodological prob­lem to maintain this wide-ranging perspective within a thorough, de­tailed study. That is one of the reasons, why the field of interest has been approached from a historiographical angle from where competing discourses and texts dealing with apartheid history can be compared. [53]

There are several other reasons why a historiographical approach could help one achieve a meaningful comprehension of the South African situation. Most people’s understanding of most kinds of history comes by the means of texts. By combining focused, in-depth text-analysis with a multi-aspected, long-perspective, structural view, I have wanted to create an understanding of the South African historical reality which is both broad and deep.

This also implies that my opening search for perspectives, necessary for historiographical differentiation, can not be narrowed down to immediately applicable methods and angles, but has to consider larger, overlapping, theory complexes. It has to be an open qualitative analysis: explorative research aimed at developing suggestions, which to some extent can be tested for generality through empirical text-studies. [54]


All historical analysis proceeds - implicitly or explicitly - from basic premises and assumptions about the dialectic between human behaviour and society in the historical process. [55] Therefore, part of writing historiography is to extract those assumptions and theories that have guided previous work. When doing this, the author exposes himself to all kinds of discursive and epistemological clashes and his daring analyses is frequently curtailed by warnings of dangers like dogmatic totalisation, [56] blind essentialism, [57] and narrow reductionism. [58] And undeniable; being unaware of that kind of temptations increases the threat of getting caught by a simplistic teleology describing the gradual unfolding of history towards a selected, ultimate goal, imposing on the past a too narrow sense of unavoidable continuity and coherence. An opposite risk, however, lies in the self-protective, multicausal approach, avoiding all theoretical commitment, throwing in a variety of explanations, and eventually arriving at the “combination of factors” kind of conclusion - failing to weight or prioritise causal explanations. Thus historiographical writing, analysing the work of others, cannot be handled from a neutral stance and the claims of some historians to be objective (if understood as neutral) are always a mere pretence. [59]


The project deals with perceptions of history that are based on divergent interests and ideological views. That includes references to a great deal of differing academic concepts, but also, that I myself will have to take a position on the investigated works and notions of history. Accordingly, the resultant book will most likely present itself as a relatively broad, debating analysis, rather than as a traditional, narrow, impersonal university thesis. The book will be written on the basis of proper, basic research and commonly accepted functional principles of source-criticism. [60] It will include a representative selection of works from the competing historical paradigms, suitable for illustrating the disputes between them, and this material will be handled in a fair and comprehensive manner through comparative analyses based on the conventional hermeneutic circle. [61] Rules of good scientific practice, including those referring to triangulation and analytical induction, will be regarded. [62]

It goes without saying that the aim is to construct an accurate picture of the historical reality - in this case the making of history - on the basis of facts. In dealing with historiography, this is both harder and easier than in other kinds of history writing in the sense that the subject could seem more “indirect”, not being so much “what really happened” out there in the “societal historical reality”, [63] but rather what other historians have been writing about that reality. [64] This implies that secondary literature often functions as the historiographer’s primary sources.


In the cases where the investigation comes close to philosophy of history, the question is also, how final research results can be, since abstract philosophy does not show the same kind of progression that more exact single-sciences can bring.

The comparative historian’s task and potential contribution lies not so much in revealing new data, but rather in establishing the interest and prima facie validity of overall arguments about causal regularities across the various cases. [65] It means that most sources are rather easily accessible, and that it will often be possible to discuss directly with the creators of those sources, but it also indicates that conclusions can only with caution be drawn on the history of the wider world, but should principally be on the historical texts analysed.

Fact-based elements are fewer in historiography than in other historical research. What can actually be said about a piece of history writing that is not an interpretation based on values? Exegesis and analysis dealing with intention, use, and effects of texts must be hermeneutical and interpretative even when the intention is to produce causal explanations. My project is, on the other hand, not exclusively theoretical, since - beside scholarly texts - political recommendations and all kinds of interdepartmental and extrovert activities of the historians - in combination - constitute their role in society. A cross-disciplinary, sociological approach that can be combined with historical source criticism must be further developed, since the behaviour and interests of the history writers are part of the exercise.  Through an extended historiographical analysis, I will tell a story of both the apartheid society and the ways in which academics tried to change it.


Such an attempt to make a state of affairs of the writing of South African history might make many traditional social scientists nervous, and at least, it calls for some further reflections on possible research methodologies. Periodisation, including how to analyse accounts of phases and shifting forms of racism, [66] for instance, is just one of the obvious problems that confront the historiographer with the question of how to grasp theoretically and conceptualise the process of alteration inside the milieu of historical research. [67]  

The methodology that will be used for historiographical differentiation in this project is not built on ready-made, exact termed criterions of identification or a pre-defined list of research notions. Such an approach could be interpreted as intellectual laziness or as fear of wrongness that could kill the creativity of writing. [68]


In the eclectic process used, different types of knowledge are integrated in order to create a more complex framework for understanding the empirical reality; the rationale being that the exceedance of individual disciplines and the integration of information across boundaries are knowledge-productive. As the eclectic approach, however, cannot involve all of the perspectives that are relevant to understanding an object in its entirety and in all its externalities, there can be no expectation that the eclectic approach will produce a perfect response. The expectation is rather to demonstrate specific but complex relationships and connections between phenomena of the empirical reality, present angles and contexts of comprehension, take advantage of conceptual interdisciplinary, as well as identify gaps in the existing knowledge. Despite some philosophical reservations, methodological eclecticism is used in this study to combine and integrate knowledge from different subject-areas and disciplines by way of methods described as conceptual interdisciplinarity. [69] The rationale is that an assembly of several theories will improve existing theoretical understandings of the complexity of empirical relationships. An eclectic approach is grounded on critical reflections and postmodernist dangers are lurking in the corners of this methodology. Using it uncritically could lead to the establishment of a lack of systematic explication of chosen criteria; to a patchwork of unconnected theories unprincipled put together; it could create illogical incoherence of data. The knowledge integrated when using this methodology is often not new knowledge, in the sense of never thought about before. It is based on already known forms of thought; therefore, results could be unoriginal, not leading to new insights. It could be viewed as unscientific and unsuitably to create comprehensive theories, for if one of the arguments for working eclectic is that empirical phenomena are linked in complex ways and that no perspective alone can explain a subject area totally, well, then this could mean that there can never be created one perception that includes all important perspectives. However, these weaknesses are outweighed by the fact that the eclectic methodology is anti-reductive in its view of knowledge creation. The strength of the approach is that it better uncovers shortcomings and inadequacies in existing explanations. Since it looks at science as an unfinished process, it is constantly striving to uncover additional layers and dimensions.


In reality, it is difficult to locate clear, internal, intentional, scientific guidelines, which could provide precise distinctions between the schools of history, and in addition, it is possible to detect many methodological and analytical problems, syntheses, and even “guides for action” which stretches across paradigms. [70]

Nonetheless, it is possible to identify a number of intellectual streams partly with the help of concrete criteria laid down for the occasion. This project will attempt to isolate and investigate two major modern paradigms known as the liberal school and the radical school plus a number of variants in South African historical research. What makes it possible to distinguish by reasonably clear dividing lines is to a considerable extent that the schools also differ distinctly in the view on their own present and in their use of history for external purposes. It has consequently been a point of departure that in addition to textual analyses and sociological inquiries into the world of academia, circumstances external to science must also be considered for the distinction between paradigms. Furthermore, as I see it, a critical historian does not need to be worried by this coherence between paradigms of history and movements in the contemporary reality. A great deal of the most outstanding history writing has been written out of a concurrent commitment. I have also found that generalising, ahistorical, “neutral” systems theory and organisation theory often produces inaccurate results in cases dealing with ideology. [71]


It is my impression from teaching and supervising that many students and young researchers commit themselves rather overspecialized and schematic either to the established virtues of their particular discipline or to new exciting trends such as discourse analyse, new cultural history, post-colonialism, new realism, new historicism, the linguistic turn, variations of post-feminism, post-constructuralism, thoughts on identity, power centred theories etc. in their treatise exordium, only to forget the theoretical integration in their actual investigation. Even if I always give my social science students the secure advise to focus on a narrow subject, to choose a defined theory, and to use the specific conceptions and terminology of the profession, [72] I am not going to follow that advise to the point myself. As a historian, I distrust middle-level of abstraction theories, since they often neither reveal the authors overall agenda, nor the real reasons for the specific research results. [73]

Within journalism, fixation errors, i.e. being locked too tight to a particular angle, is regarded as a failure that reduces the quality of an investigation. In contrast, narrow subject boundaries is often seen as a necessity for scientific objectivity and most methodology course-books recommend it. However, why should a narrowed focus necessarily be something good in a study that does not aim to prove a natural science claim, but rather seeks to illustrate social research development and influence in a broader sense? At the most, I might be able to see it as a practical necessity. It is of course unfortunate if the reader completely loses the thread, but going astray, wandering from the point, pursuing detours and looking for digressions, can be exciting and extremely relevant to a comprehensive understanding. Most likely, it is simply my paranoia, but at several occasions, I have had the feeling that the focus requirement has been politically motivated: a larger coherent understanding has not been regarded as desirable.

Accuracy on theory and method is however considered to be a virtue in scientific work that presumably should make it possible to verify or falsify results, [74] and even if I regard this as something of an illusion, I will demonstrate openness around the argumentation throughout the book. [75] The sad fact is however that deploying a stringent line of theory and method does not automatically bring the historian closer to the full historical truth (if defined as the particular way that things actually happened), and when “what happened” was a prolonged, ideologically inflamed discussion surrounding the profession of history, things gets even more complicated.


The intellectuals’ defence against demands of socialisation, whether such demands have been expressed by an official authority or put forward by an alternative party, has often been the traditional, apparently unproblematic argument for autonomy. In this discourse, research is still viewed as ethically and politically neutral, a value-free, objective practice that develops within its own rationale and logic. [76]

My point of departure is that historical research is never value-free. [77] My overall theoretical foundation is in classical historical materialism. [78] This implies a preference for structuralist reasoning, a high priority for causal explanations from a class or interest point of view prioritised after relative importance, a dedication to the use of history for the sake of social progress, and some scepticism towards both liberal laissez-faire cynicism and humanistic idealism. [79] Since writers of history also have material interests, this is not necessarily inconsistent with inspirations collected from modern (or even postmodern) social constructivism. [80]

Regardless of my sincere respect for opponents in the discussion around the theme of research and for scientific methods as such, there is no way to deny that this approach will affect my research priorities. My investigation forms part of an ideological discussion on history in which I have a position.


An investigation of the debate over how best to analyse history writings on the apartheid situation will be an integrated part of this project. Some analysts have wished to place the main perspectives on the South African history and economy within a common analytical framework in order to examine their differences and similarities. [81] Since many of the works do not communicate or relate very well to each other, I consider that to be a questionable approach.

In my research, the reviewed works will not be scrutinised only from one single, more or less unambiguous perspective, but rather from a long range of shifting criteria tailored to meet the uniqueness of the works and authors evaluated, such as their significance for the understanding of political history, their civil society value, their importance for identity creation, their capacity to explain key structures, their display of accurate knowledge on historical events, their theoretical coherence, their literary qualities, the impact of certain biases in the work, the way the works have been used by authorities, etc.


On the middle level of abstraction, through a diversified process, I will let me inspire by a rather arbitrary selection of theories and methods derived from both theory of history, [82] textual analysis, [83] paradigm theory and knowledge sociology, [84] African studies methods, [85] identity studies, [86] fieldwork techniques, [87] political science, [88] economics and economic history, [89] social history, [90] cultural studies, [91] gender studies, [92] and historical anthropology. [93]

Even if many would probably regard it as quite fitting for this kind of investigation - which is dealing with qualitative interpretations, constructions of meaning, and contents of notions - discourse analysis, [94] other postmodernist inspirations, [95] social psychology, [96] and generational approaches, [97] will be used in an even more sceptical and reluctant way.

I find the linguistic prominence and non-materialistic approach to facts and historical reality found in some parts of discourse theory rather useless, [98] but I see the post-modem turn not so much contributing to the crisis in history as reflecting that crisis. [99] Perhaps, the ambiguous expansion of discourse theory is due to the fact that it is approached by both used-to-be structuralist Marxists, who are reluctant to give up the primacy of “the social” and by conventional, liberally disposed scholars, who restrict themselves to the text itself. Masked ideological struggles therefore take place inside the theory.

Despite the reservations made above, I agree partly in some postmodernist readings and accept that they have enriched the universe of critical analysis. The referential focus on how texts relate to each other; the will to deconstruct accepted discourses; the structural focus on conventions on what can be said or not; the analytical focus on categories used for text-understanding; the focus on from where the power to define what can be seen as reality comes; the resemblance with the concept of ideology (even if denied by Foucault); the focus on the social position of sources; the awareness of processes of struggle between interpretations; the exposure of tendency via comparative analysis; the translation between different meaning systems; the questioning of the researcher’s objectivity; and the kind of eclecticism that enables one to select elements from different perspectives and theories and to discard others, are all analytical angles, I will make use of. [100]


In some respects, I find Thomas Kuhn’s concept of paradigms and paradigm shifts to be a more stable, logical, and reliable tool than discourse analysis as a procedure for understanding the structure of scientific revolutions, even if it appears less multidimensional. [101] Even though Thomas Kuhn, owing to his internalist tendencies, may be viewed more as an idealist than a materialist, Marxist-oriented researchers could also be inspired by his theory and feel obliged to use critically selected portions of it to differentiate between historiographical paradigms. This because Marxist historical theory does unfortunately not give any clear, concrete suggestion for an explanatory framework for differentiating between historical schools. In my own case, it is done eclectically and due to a lack of a better solution. The fact that there is no cohesive scientific development in Kuhn’s eyes, that objectivity is only seen as an inner-theoretical property, plus the fact that Kuhn to a great degree ignores the societal, social practice must create serious reservations to a critical application of Kuhn’s concept apparatus.


Another theoretical inspiration has been Habermas’s theory of communication; however I do not see it as a superior tool for analysing ideological discussions. [102] His idea of equal communication, free of power-relations, is attractive and seems ideal for establishing freedom of expression in academic and public rooms, but has, unfortunately, little to do with real world historical-ideological struggles.

Also Bourdieu’s work has been considered in length, as it will appear from the manuscript’s theoretical introduction, but in my interpretation, he’s venture ends up being muddled and contradictory. Bourdieu’s project - a practical “transcendence” of the objectivist/subjectivist antinomy - appears unconvincing to me. [103] The claim from some followers, that habitus enriches the objectivist perspective by specifying a non-reductionist theory of agency, cannot be fully sustained, I think.

Build-in, in Bourdieu’s posited attempt to deal with the gap between the distanced researcher and the everyday practices of the acting humans being scrutinised, is reserved a paternalistic position for “homo academicus”.  Even if this is realised by Bourdieu as a central part of the problem, he himself establishes his own superiority by way of a language-use that can only be characterised as suppressive. Actually, he is totally absorbed in the secluded, ultra-elitist, academic sphere, he is supposed to criticise. [104]

Could it be that some intellectuals, themselves constantly devoted to the use of text and language in settings of relative, academic freedom, simply come to overestimate and generalise communication as a societal factor and thereby gets a distorted overall picture?


Ideology must be regarded as a fundamental problem in academic history writing, because intellectual history has to do with meaning, its production, distribution, and consumption. When I use the term ideology in this project, I mean systems of belief that usually uphold sectional interests while appearing to always express general ones (whereby, I, at least temporarily, choose to see Marxism as an ideology and discount the Marxist claim that in the long run, the interests of the working class will resemble the interests of all).

The intellectual historian’s individual notion – no matter if conservative, liberal, or Marxist - of her/his discipline has by tradition required that he took on the role of arbiter as to what should be valued as a more or less objective, realistic, or reliable representation of reality and of what had to be identified as mainly “ideological”, and thereby untrustworthy. This essential problem remains. An easy, one-and-for-all solution to distinguish between tendencies in history writing does not exist. The professional reality that the historiographer has to cope with is that the constant, often passionate, disagreements over interactions between politically inspired visions and historical interpretation have not yet been persuasively integrated into convincing, coherent, methodological reflections on the handiwork of historians. Regardless of the present popularity of discourse theory, there are only vague tendencies towards clarifying the connotations of “the politics of historical interpretation” as Hayden White calls this relation. [105]


Some researchers, particularly those of a northern European protestant inclination, including many scholars with social democratic sympathies, have chosen to collect their theoretical inspiration from Max Weber. [106]

One of Weber’s demands to his central analytical category, the ideal type, is that it should be “pure” and not reflect contradictions. It seems to me problematic to separate the analytical apparatus from reality in such a rigorous manner. This stands in opposition to any historical reality and produces results that are purely academic. In real life, some analyses come closer to reality than others do, and a prerequisite for a realistic analysis is an open designation of the researcher’s own relation to the political reality of the moment.

No doubt, Max Weber was among the great contributors to Western sociology, which he supplied with convincing hermeneutic instruments. [107] He has also given us some common-sense, thought-provoking moderations of Marx’s theories and he began building a bridge between focus-on-individual-factors and focus-on-structural-factors, but he is not an obvious inspiration for third world studies.


Many liberal historical and race-related analyses take their departure in some kind of social psychology. For many Marxists (myself included), the exact determination of human agency in history - the role of the individual – remains unsettled. [108]

According to Norbert Elias, people gradually became more conscientious, self-controlled, and civilised in their behaviour. Their habitus changed from outer-controlled to inner-controlled driven by a developing sense of “shame” and an urge to live up to society’s expectations. [109] Elias’s figurational sociology seeks not to reduce processes into static elements, separating human actors from their actions. Its practitioners are often inspired by the ideal that the usual barrier in humanities between micro/psychological and macro/state is removed. Consequently, much of the work done inside this approach has examined the connection between changes in psychology and personhood, on the one hand, and changes in macro social structures, on the other. The main weakness of his perspective is the use of surface phenomenons and individual behaviour as the most substantial parameters.

Modern social constructivism shows some of the same weaknesses. Instead of assessing knowledge on its truth-value, social constructivism turns to the pragmatic philosophy that assesses knowledge only in relation to the actions that it enables. Hence, to make any claims to explain how the world worked is tantamount to perpetuating a kind of intellectual fraud. Relativism is really a problem here, and I simply fail to see, why seeking the historical truth should necessarily reduce a critical view on the creation or use of knowledge.

Some social constructivists claim a link to what in recent years has become popular under the labels action research and empowerment theory. [110] When such postulated democratic approaches have been deployed as methods of research there has usually a great deal of idealism entailed. The apparent logic of the concept is as follows: by way of involving the subjects of research, we will not only get honest, subjective results, we will also be helping people to understand themselves and their social situation, and engage them in social progress at their own level. My impression of this method is that the weight still tends to be on the researcher’s career, in practice elevating conclusions above the head of the subjects. All the same, in this project, I have sought to activate the treated authors around the issues in play through surveys and discussions.


I am, after careful consideration of a whole range of spectacular theories, stuck with Marxian materialism as the general, theoretical inspiration for my analysis.

This approach naturally leads to one of my central assumptions/theses: that the decisive reasons for the divergences between the main directions of history writing dealt with in this book are, in the last instance, hidden in the depths of political economy. In other words, they reflect social (and derived political and ideological) developments in society in a relatively simple and direct way.

This starting point in classical, historical materialism implies an endeavour towards clearly prioritised, structural interpretations, which, hopefully, cannot be confused with primitive, all-purpose explanations. I have viewed the diverging historical schools within the South African context as expressions of “history ideologies”, which more or less openly reflect interests, mindsets, and political trends within the surrounding, contemporary society. The products of the historians are therefore appraised while keeping in mind (a) the underlying, internal intellectual architecture, (b) the institutional and disciplinary framework within which knowledge was produced, and (c) external political influences.

My understanding of historical materialism is built partly on G.A. Cohen’s interpretation of its key terms and concepts. [111] One implication is that structures do not act. It is impossible to understand how structures are reproduced except through human action. Similarly, it is not possible to comprehend practices, except as they are conditioned by structures, themselves the product of past practices. Thus, the specification of bare structures is not enough. At the base of historical materialism is a notion of human nature and of essential human needs as both socially conditioned (and therefore different from epoch to epoch) and, in some respects, universally the same. [112] The textual and behavioural analysis needed requires an understanding of typical patterns of meaning, experience, and practice; a better theoretical comprehension of human agency. It is unfortunately in this area where Cohen and other modern Marxists become rather silent, and it is here that the thinking of Pierre Bourdieu, John Law, and others can offer some complementary inspiration. [113]


The relationship between subjectivity, tendency, and bias seen more or less as opposites to objectivity, neutrality, and historical truth is a fundamental issue in a study like this. Objectivity is a complex philosophical notion and a history writer should try to define which aspects of this notion, he intends to live up to, even if it means revealing a mix of insight and insecurity. Studied neutrality, it must be stressed, has nothing to do with objectivity and producing “balanced” accounts does not bring the researcher any scientific certainty. Historical truth seldom rests in the exact middle of two viewpoints. It would be illogical to expect that and such kind of history writing is most often driven by a publisher’s market needs or by politicised career considerations. [114] Paradoxically, when practising contemporary history, the degree of objectivity is therefore depending on the author’s unrestrained considerations on his subjective choices and engagement with the narrative.


Another problem for consideration in such a study is the cross-disciplinary relationships between political science, social science studies, anthropology, and history. Together with the deployment of development theory. Several of the works analysed in project could easily be seen as development research. No doubt, dependency and underdevelopment theories were particularly appealing because they seemed to offer a total explanation, couched in terms of cores and peripheries that reached from the international capitalist system down to the smallest village. However, since my main effort is to deconstruct and discuss written histories, the use of development research per see will not be central.


Many of the reviewed works are about the relationship between race and class. The meaning and relative importance of identity, class, ethnicity, race, nation, religion, and gender will therefore be an issue. After Foucault, Said, Orientalism, and post-colonialism, [115] it is common knowledge that European portrayals of Africa have often been part of constructing “the other”, where the exotic representations of “them” are designed by Westerners to promote a positive image of themselves through contrasting. Africa seems to have a special role here by being constructed as the extreme opposite to the European model of progress. But this discussion cannot be only about “difference” or “the others”. The hierarchical ranking of groups means that it must mainly be about the criticism of different forms of power. [116]


In this connection one must be aware of African studies methods and their history. A wide-meshed periodisation of the history of African studies could look like this: from heady optimism; through internal civil wars and coups d’états; to carefully-managed presidential transitions. An institutional development that in a strange way has mimicked African realities. A transition from an open-mindedness about the potential for African states to deliver education and other public services, and a believe on the ability of the social sciences to apprehend African realities, towards a rather deflated sense of what African area studies can contribute with and doubts on the extent to which the social sciences are capable of explaining complex phenomena. [117]

After 1989, areas like underdevelopment; anti-colonialism; pan-Africanism; popular international solidarity; inequalities; class (workers and peasants); and the role of the state have had less room inside African studies, while identities; pre-colonial polities; ethnicity; diasporas; general poverty measurement; development aid; good governance; trade and investment; health; African patriotism; regionalism; localism; globalisation; and international migration, have become more popular issues. One wonders whether Africanists have not thrown the baby out with the bath water during this process. So much time have been spent embracing African subjectivities (ethnic, gender, and youth identities) and connectivities (migration, networks, and information technology) that some of the fundamentals of political economy have been forgotten.


However, the conclusion of all these theoretical elaborations is that I am not ready to restrict my methodology to one logical set of rules. How does one actually know when discussions within the humanities can be characterised as new research results?

The main purpose of this research is not the operationalising or testing of one specific theory by proving the validity of clearly defined variables, but rather to create broad, reliable, and integrated multidisciplinary new knowledge of how history has been used in South Africa.

Due to the dissimilarity of the sources and their proveniences, and to the inductive nature of the project, it will be necessary in this study to allow the source material together with the overall aim of the project - more than predefined theories - to steer the investigation. This is not an expression of methodological irresoluteness, but more a result of a decision to use the theories and methods most relevant for every single work and situation investigated. The texts and other sources analysed will be chosen after their estimated importance for the history debate, partly on the basis of my pre-knowledge after ten years of experience in this area of research.

The main investigation of the historians’ differing views on the relations between race, class, economy, the political life, and the state will, however, concentrate on their published works, which will be viewed considering the time and story of their creation.


Many of the social scientists, I have studied do not fit perfectly into the categories that I have constructed for them and in all probability, many of them would prefer not to be pigeonholed like that, but such kind of historiographical differentiation are made necessary by the whole character of the study.

It is impossible not to lose some of the finer details when distinguishing among scholars who are close to each other in view. Unfortunately, that is a built-in methodological problem, when classification of literature is made. Academic trends have to be identified according to their use of ideas and concepts, and my principal method for creating an understanding of the history debate is numerous discussions on suppositions, agendas, importance, and limitations.

When placing and grading the text material, I have used a method deduced from Dan O’Meara’s work. [118] This entails a general effort to identify subjects and research areas together with archetypal authors according to their main focus on basic categories and relationships (the ontological aspect); an exposure of unconcealed as well as concealed explanatory models used under the concept/framework deployed in the writings (the epistemological aspect); and a disclosure of the political and research policy connotations of the analysed texts (the normative aspect). [119]

In my study, O’Meara’s method mostly serves as an abstract tool of orientation, however. I agree in characterising the texts according to specified criteria, but even if O’Meara’s criteria are both original and functional, the six broad tendencies in which he divides the pro-democratic literature on the apartheid state into seems inadequate and arbitrary. The level of abstraction is unclear and the selection feels unessential. Several just as important tendencies could have been added, and even if the selection model may still work for sociology, it will not work for historiography.


My attention on individual authors in this large body of literature will shift rather unsystematically with piecemeal syntheses and sub-conclusions. The source material was chosen to explain a particular academic conflict and most of the treated texts and their authors will be placed inside the currents and undertows of the liberal-radical discussion.

Some researchers have regarded other societal trends as equally important for their analyses.  Nationalism, for instance, are sometimes considered just as central for politics as liberalism and Marxism. [120] Basic characteristica indicates that the demarcation used in this project is more essential, even if considered antiquated by some. No Marxist tradition exists inside the liberal school and no liberalists favour consequent, Marxist historiography, but there are Africanists, feminists, localists, postmodernists, and different kinds of nationalists inside both of the main directions. Obviously, this is not a coincidental detail. It reflects that, in the last instance, capitalist and socialist conceptions of the ideal society are incompatible and antagonistic. The fact that the main battle in practical politics for the time being seems to be fought between conservative liberalists and reformist social democrats does not change this, but only raise the question of how to characterise reformism. In addition, for the period here described, the contrasts created by the cold war setting were in the centre, and at the same time reformist views were relatively rare in South Africa.

Furthermore, from a current (or presentist, why not) perspective; even if the prevailing, post-apartheid solution has consisted of centre-right, social democratic inspirations combined with tamed African nationalism, this has just shown that both these conceptions works comfortably inside the capitalist social formation (and, incidentally, also that they have been unable provide any solution of South Africa’s most fundamental social problems).

Other scholars have seen religion as the foundation for personal conviction and thereby for political action. [121] Since the majority of ANC followers probably always were true believers, this is not a trivial issue. In addition, religious approaches appear more and more potent as socialism grows weaker. [122] In the period in question, however, political grassroots and trade union activities were in the forefront compared to church involvement in politics.


I will use argument analysis intensively (the practice of breaking down an argument through extraction of elements in structure; claim; instance/evidence; patterns; authority; relevance; acceptability; sufficiency, etc.). [123] Another tool in the box is framing analysis; a multi-disciplinary, social science research method used to analyse how people understand situations and activities. [124] Frame analysis has strings to the concept of social constructivism and is sometimes used together with post-colonial discourse analysis for understanding social movements. It will only be used infrequently, for instance, when focusing on how institutions and publishing houses inevitably selects and structures information within specific value-determined frameworks.


Some consideration will be laid on the authors’ treatment of what I consider key elements in the history debate such as:

·                Rationalities of growth, economic dysfunctions, and redistributive models.

·                Correlations between class relations, race attitudes, gender, and culture.

·                Processes of industrialisation, proletarianisation, and urbanisation held together with criteria for social success.

·                Rural processes, including transitions from pre-capitalist to modern agriculture, land distribution and migration.

·                Their identification of other essential, underlying societal factors, including ethnicity, identity and the creation of mentalities.

·                Statutory regulations reflecting white, political domination and open, official racial segregation in institutions, laws and procedures.

·                The background of protest and the shifting forms of popular social and political expression.

·                Use of principal theories of history and of historical and social science methods.

·                Intellectual and practical pressure from academic structures, apartheid society, and movements.

Plus a great deal of other textual and conceptual elements which should not be classified or generalised prematurely.


(Chapter 1.3 in the present draft manuscript elaborates in depth on theory and methodology over more than 100 pages and can be found on my website in full-text: http://www.jakobsgaardstolten.dk/ | Book Manuscripts | Monograph on South African history writing. This document will require user name “visitor” and password "laia”). Be aware that it is still a draft.


The source material

When I view the concrete works of South African historians, considering the prerequisites set by the surrounding society they lived in when they wrote, it far from means that I view the source material they used as having no significance for the work processes of the researchers. [125] I believe, however, that the manner, in which the historians understand not just their science, but also their broader surroundings, is decisive for what is produced owing to the historian’s encounter with his/her sources. The sources as such - even though often selected from a limited supply and out of a subjective bias (incomplete in their creation and survival, and tendentious in themselves) - naturally set some type of framework for what can come from the research process. But interest seldom lies (and yes, I am aware that this resembles liberalist cynicism), which once again leave us with the politico-economic and ideological analysis as the most important.


Principal reference works which fully cover the topic of the project do not exist, although dedicated scholars have published some excellent bibliographic reference works. [126] It has been necessary to create a broad basis for research from a large number different sources and contributions to the research debate. The scholarly debate constitutes in itself a large, but nevertheless limited source material. As a foundation for the research project, a database with more than 5600 partly annotated references to history and social science studies on South African issues has been built. Approximately 650 of the most substantial contributions to the research debate on apartheid history have so far been scrutinised in the course of the investigation. They include dissertations, unpublished university working papers, conference pa­pers, personal, organisational, and university archive records, government documents, research reports, interviews, journal articles, book chapters, source collections, monographs, debates on internet fora, films, and several other types of sources. The literature has been obtained over several years from a wide range of international research libraries, archives, document collections, university centres, government departments, organisations/NGOs, and personal contacts. Interviewing authors will be part of the package. The material is so comprehensive that it is impossible to give a full picture here.


As a supplement to the reading of texts and sociological analysis, I will carry out a limited interview survey among concerned researchers. I want to get an overview of current opinions from two focus groups: authors involved in the historical debate analysed and fellow researchers with a present engagement in South African historiography. Normal e-survey methods will be used. [127]


(A temporary list of literature with library/archive signatures can be found on my website: http://www.jakobsgaardstolten.dk/ | Book Manuscripts | Monograph on South African history writing. Follow the link from the list of Contents to the chapter: List of applied literature).

(Specific searches on selected sub-items are also possible through my website: | Databases, Queries | My online databases / blogs | LitSA).


The organisation of the resultant book

The format and structure of the draft manuscript is so far quite straightforward, even if the final book form has not been laid down at the present stage. Following a theoretical introductory chap­ter, important liberal and radical history writings are separately examined through Chapters 2 and 3, which are divided into partly chronological, partly thematic subsections. In order to create a historical point of departure, the history of the main paradigms prior to respectively 1965 and 1970 are ex­am­ined in the first of these subsections, followed by an investigation of more, and hitherto neglected, texts. The last subsections of Chapters 2 and 3 will attempt to construct partial conclusions on the positions of the respective schools on the South African society over time. Chapter 4 analys­es some of the major thematic issues in the dispute between the two principal paradigms. So far, six subsec­tions and a concluding section will provide syntheses on the positions, the weaknesses, dilemmas, and poten­tials of the schools. Since the approach of the work is partly thematic – dealing, for instance, with diverting views on gender history, workers history, solidarity history, oral history etc. - several subsections contain conclu­sions, which will not necessarily be summarised in the closing chapter.

To connect the academic debate with the broader historical reality, pilot studies have included a chronological appendix on university structures, preliminary socio-economic studies, followed by other facts-related appendices con­taining surveys of event-chronology and race legislation, definitions, vocabulary, and concepts/notions employed. These will not necessarily be part of the book, but might appear in the form of articles. These studies can be read from a CD together with the Danish version of the draft manuscript and they have also provided material for my online databases.


Hypotheses and contents

The liberal school of history writing will be portrayed in the first main section of the book: Chapter 2. From the beginning of the 20th century, the liberals built their expectations for a colour-blind future on the economic evolution. According to my readings so far, heir logic was as follows: the growth of the manufac­turing in­dustry would create a need for skilled manpower. The limited size of the white workforce would necessi­tate train­ing of a larger part of the black workers. The existing migrant labour system was not able to fulfil this requirement, and a growing part of Africans were bound to be permitted permanent settlement in the cities. To secure the efficiency and stability of this labour force, they would also have to be given some education, a certain level of social security and possibly even political rights. The new manufacturing industry would then blos­som in an expanding domestic market and this would call for all South Africans to be admitted and integrated into the society, not just as manufacturers, but also as consumers. Accordingly, South Africa would work itself out of racism's obsolete patterns within a comparatively short space of time. Most liberal historians believed that apartheid was an economically dysfunctional product of outdated ethnic and ideological factors: race prejudice coupled with derailed Calvinism and Afrikaner nationalism. Even if eco­nomic determinism often supplied political history, social struggle out of class in­terests rarely entered into liberal causal explanations. [128]


The radical critique of racial capitalism will be dealt with in the second main section: Chapter 3. In the view of this school, the high economic growth rates, which characterised South Africa during long periods of the 20th century, occurred simultaneously and in close connection with a rigorous and all-embracing implementation of the segregation policy - straight from a perfec­tion of petty apartheid in its most humiliating appearances, such as separated buses and public toilets - to grand apartheid's bantustan policy and the forced removal of more than three million people to segregated settlements.

On this background, a new generation of younger exiled academics unfolded in opposition to the pragmatic liberal tradition. They developed an explanatory model for the identifiable agreement between the exclusionist racial system and the high level of eco­nomic vitality. The radical school saw apartheid as rational social engineering with the pur­pose of blocking black social advancement. By keeping the educational level for blacks low, by deterring them from pursuing their interests on the labour market, and by pre­cluding them from the accumulation of capital, the system was able to consolidate the recruit­ment, distribution, and reproduction of inexpensive manpower. The foundation of white South Africa’s economic prosperity was precisely the migrant, cheap labour system with its mechanisms of overexploitation. The racist system and economic growth depended on and supported each other. They were not incompatible components. On the contrary: they were inseparable and reinforced one another interdependently. Race oppression was a condition for rapid growth, and white economic prosperity simultaneously strengthened white political su­premacy. By taking advantage of reserves/bantustans and neighbour­ing countries, capital exploited the pre-capitalist societies in southern Africa through a kind of internal colonialism. [129]


The third and largest part of the project - Chapter 4 in the book - will analyse central aspects of the discussion between the two principal schools, including the liberal counter criticism opposing the radicals; [130] the radical claim of having a superior explanatory model; [131] the argument around the relation­ship between capitalism and apartheid; [132] and between race and class; [133] the debate over the nature of the state; [134] the applica­tion of the theory of colonialism of a special kind; [135] the internal radical-revisionist dis­agreements over structuralism and reductionism; [136] and several other debates.  


Additional analytical development of the project/manuscript will probably concentrate on a new section, not yet fully drafted. The importance and prospects of the ideological clash between liberals and radicals will be reinterpreted in the light of the victory of the South African freedom struggle and the almost simultaneous defeat of socialism.

The ability of new trends and theories around the history profession and related disciplines to relieve/replace former ideologically informed theories will be tested. Post-structuralism; [137] localism; [138] identity history and ethnicity; [139] oral history; [140] history of religion; [141] health history; [142] reconciliation history; [143] Africanism/Black Consciousness; [144] and governmental nation building history, [145] etc. will be considered and their importance and relation to earlier writings will be analysed. From where did they come? Are they superior to the stereotypes of the great debate? Are they genuine advances, offering better historical insight? The movement towards a new pervasive he­gemony of converging trends in South African historical research will be criticised. [146]


Finally, some general conclusions will be drawn on the positions of the schools (even if the overall method used will be more ideographic than nomothetic). Research during the last 20 years shows that the relation between economics and racial system was, neither so simple, nor as static over time, as the early radical historians imagined. However, my research so far also indicates that the liberal viewpoint - that economic growth always has been hampered by race segregation - may be regarded as disproved by the highly-qualified research of the radical historians. Segre­gation probably assisted economic development in the early phases of industrialisation, when a compounded, unskilled, and only partly proletarianised work force were socialised for wage labour.

The negotiated settlement of 1990-94, together with later developments, undeniably can be interpreted as if the liberal argumenta­tion in the long run has proved itself as the historical truth and that consideration for economic growth ultimately forced the South African elite to end white racial hegemony. On the other hand: for many years, in spite of economic growth, the system did not bring better living condi­tions to the African majority of the population. Also; black political protest, the end of the Cold War, and international solidarity and sanctions might have been the most important  reasons for the turn to democracy. This aspect of the liberal-radical debate remains unconcluded. On top of this comes that economic growth after post-apartheid economic liberalisation actually has been far from impressive, so that there are now more poor and unemployed in South Africa than ever before. [147]


Possible additions and corrections to the draft manuscript

In its present shape, the draft manuscript contains a range of problems. The effort to create overview and coherence by accentuating the long lines of the main tendencies in history writing must be harmonised with the simultaneous attempt to work with concentrated, empirical text analyses.

Too little emphasis has been placed on historical analyses on social everyday life, including narratives of actual living and work conditions. The role of individuals in history and history creation is not considered seriously enough. Histories of mentality and culture, as well as works on reserve/bantustan/rural conditions, have only been dealt with sporadically.

Relevant, adjoining fields of study have been left out or rather unfairly treated. This applies to early African writing of histories; gender studies; Afrikanerdom; the discussion of the definition of fascism in relation to certain periods; the debate on oral history and local urban history; history of solidarity; ecological history, and a number of other fields of history writing.

The prioritising of themes is occasionally somewhat unsystematic and I have not yet fully managed to come “on top" of the treated material (and the whole range of theories surrounding it), which in itself therefore has controlled the research design even more than expected. The relationship between real-history and historiography must be further clarified in the book and a clearer thematic must be worked in, binding topics such as rural problems, proletarianisation, legislation and cultural ideology together over the chapters.

Furthermore, a general rethinking of the material is required to open up for topical overarching questions relating to the future of “the great narrative”, theorisation of history as such, and the continued importance of social history correctives to the triumphal progress of neo-liberalism. Particularly new civilisation critics, postmodernism, and history of mentality must be analysed as well as the development prospects of radical history during a changed world order, which hardly holds a realisable socialist alternative. The backdrop for the present perspective of a new historiographical hegemony, which embodies a merger of progressive liberal and soft post-radical points of views, must be analysed further.

As a supervisor, I tell my students not to use jargon, and to be clear and straightforward. Very often, this is probably bad advice. Academics are easily impressed, and an abstract and complex writing style will usually give better assessments, even if substance is imperceptible. [148] All the same, I will aim here at a democratic and inclusive way of writing.


(The present manuscripts amounting to more than 350 pages can be found on my website: http://www.jakobsgaardstolten.dk/ | Book Manuscripts | Monograph on South African history writing. This document will require user name “visitor” and password "laia” to open).


Status and work programme

My engagement with South African his­tory is partly motivated by prolonged work within international solidarity. The contact with the popular movements – especially the Nordic AAMs - has been a steady motive power for the project. The victories of the liberation struggle and the international anti-apartheid forces were a persistent encour­agement in the early stages. The participation in research seminars, conferences, research stays, and my stay as research fellow at the Nordic Africa Institute, as well as my own NAI-project conference, have contributed decisively to the qualitative development of the project. [149]

During the last years, I have built the foundation for a further development of the project and I am convinced that it will be possible to make an in-dept, readable publication, which will contribute qualitatively to the discussion on South Africa’s past and future both in the Nordic countries, in South Africa, and in the international research community.

Of various reasons, the first manuscripts were written in Danish and it might therefore be published in this language too. However, the idea is to publish the results first in English both in full shape and in the form of articles. The English version will probably be published by The Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala.

The project will be affiliated to the Centre of African Studies, University of Copenhagen, as arranged with the Head of Centre. It will be fitted into the research- and teaching programme of the host institution and the library of the centre will benefit from the bibliographic elements of the project. It is expected that the book can be available, fully worked through and ready for publication during 2021.


(This document contains little more than 85.000 characters, with spaces, without notes).



[1] Nelson Mandela, Closing Address by President Nelson Mandela, Debate on State of the Nation Address, Cape Town, 15 February 1996; Bundy, Colin, “New Nation, New History? Constructing the past in post-apartheid South Africa” in Conference Book Publication: Hans Erik Stolten (ed.), History-Making and Present Day Politics. The Meaning of Collective Memory in South Africa, NAI, 2007.

[2] A development from socialist ideals to neo-liberal practice, it has been argued by Patrick Bond , “From apartheid to neo-liberalism. What happened to the ideals of the freedom struggle?” in At the end of the rainbow? Social identity and welfare state in the new South Africa, Gorm Gunnarsen , Patrick Mac Manus, Morten Nielsen , and Hans Erik Stolten (eds.), Southern Africa Contact, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2007 (book in Danish with English web-version www.sydafrika.dk). On the macro-economic level, post-apartheid development phases could be symbolised by master plans like: RDP, GEAR, BEE, ASGISA and NDP.

[3] Kader Asmal (then Minister of Education) “Making hope and history rhyme” in Gurney, Christabel (ed.), The Anti-Apartheid Movement: A 40-year Perspective, Conference Report, London, AAM Archives Committee, 2000; Martin Legassick , “Reflections on practising applied history in South Africa, 1994-2002: from skeletons to schools” in Conference Book Publication: Hans Erik Stolten (ed.), History-Making and Present Day Politics. The Meaning of Collective Memory in South Africa, NAI, 2007.

[4] Beinart, William and Dubow, Saul, “The historiography of segregation and apartheid” in Beinart / Dubow (eds.), Segregation and Apartheid in Twentieth Century South Africa, New York, Routledge, 1995.

[5] M. Legassick and G. Minkley, “Current Trends in the production of South African history”, Alternation, International Journal for the study of Southern African Literature and Languages, Vol. 5/1, 1998.

[6] For general international debates on this theme see Francis Fukuyama, The end of History and the Last Man, London, Hamish Hamilton, 1992; Francis Fukuyama, “Jeg fik ret: Demokratiet sejrer” (“I was right: Democracy prevails”), interview in Danish newspaper Politiken, 12 March 2011; Noberto Bobbio, Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction, University of Chicago Press, 1997 (org. title: Destra e sinistra); Gayil Talshir, “The phoenix of ideology”, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, Vol. 8, No. 2, pp. 107–124, June 2005.

[7] Hans Erik Stolten, article in Danish, ”Universitetsmarxister, græsrodspopulister og intellektuelle realister i Sydafrikas nationaldemokratiske revolution” in Kontur - Tidsskrift for Kulturstudier, Aarhus Universitet, 2009.

[8] As in a recent example: Chana Teeger, and Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi, “Controlling for Consensus: Commemorating Apartheid in South Africa”, Symbolic Interaction, 30,1, pp. 57-78, 2007.   

[9] For a classical liberal work see Wilson, Monica / Thompson, Leonard M. (eds.), The Oxford History of South Africa, Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1969-71. For a classical radical work see Johnstone, F. R., Class, Race and Gold. A Study of Class Relations and Racial Discrimination in South Africa, London, Kegan Paul, 1976.

[10] Horwitz, Ralph, The Political Economy of South Africa, London, 1967; Lipton, Merle, Capitalism and Apartheid. South Africa, 1910 - 1984, London, Gower/Temple Smith, 1985/86.

[11] Cell, Jack W., The Highest Stage of White Supremacy, Cambridge University Press, London, 1982; Lundahl, Mats, Apartheid in theory and practice: An economic analysis, Boulder, Westview Press, 1992, pp. 155-160.

[12] Norman Etherington, “Postmodernism and South African History”, Southern African Review of Books, Vol. 44, 1996.

[13] In the case of Denmark for instance: Steen Andersen, Danmark i det tyske storrum. Dansk økonomisk tilpasning til Tysklands nyordning af Europa, Lindhardt og Ringhof, 2003; Dansk Institut for Internationale Studier, Danmark under den kolde krig, København, DIIS, 2005.

[14] Friedman, Steven, “South Africa's reluctant transition”, Journal of Democracy, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 56-69, 1993; Ginsburg, David, “The Democratisation of South Africa: Transition Theory Tested”, Transformation, Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa, No. 29, pp. 74-102, University of Natal, Durban, Dept. of Economic History, 1996.

[15] Or simply “the writing of history”. Tosh, John (ed.), Historians on History: an Anthology, Pearson Education, Harlow, Longman, 2000.

[16] Saunders, Christopher C., The making of the South African past: major historians on race and class, Cape Town: David Philip, 1988; Smith, Kenneth Wyndham, The Changing Past: trends in South African historical writing, Johannesburg, Southern Book Publishers, 1988.

[17] Drew, Allison. (ed.), South Africa's Radical Tradition, A Documentary History, UCT Press, 1996-97; Glaser, Daryl, Politics and Society in South Africa: a critical introduction, SAGE Publications, 2001; Maylam, Paul, South Africa’s racial past the history and historiography of racism, segregation, and apartheid, Aldershot, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2001; Merle Lipton , Liberals, Marxists, and Nationalists: Competing Interpretations of South African History, Palgrave, Macmillan, 2007.

[18] Howard, David R., “Paradigms Gained? A Critique of Theories and Explanations of Democratic Transition in South Africa” in Howard, David R. and Aletta J. Noval (eds.), South Africa in Transition: New Theoretical Perspectives, pp. 182-215, London, Macmillan, 1998.

[19] Mark Poster, Cultural History and Postmodernity: Disciplinary Readings and Challenges, New York, Columbia University Press, 1997, pp. 38, 59; Jean Comaroff, “The End of History Again? Pursuing the Past in the Postcolony”, Lecture 29 March 2004, Koninklijke Academie voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde, Gent.

[20] Marks, Shula and Anthony Atmore (eds.), Economy and Society in Pre-Industrial South Africa, Longman, 1980/85; Marks, Shula and Richard Rathbone (eds.), Industrialisation and Social Change in South Africa. African class formation, culture and consciousness 1870-1930, England, Longman, 1982/85; Marks, Shula and Stanley Trapido, The Politics of Race, Class and Nationalism in Twentieth-Century South Africa, London, Longman, 1988.

[21] For instance Rob Sieborger et al., Turning Points in History, Textbook series commissioned by SA Department of Education, STE Publishers, 2004.

[22] Walker, Eric A., A History of South Africa, London, Longmans, Green and Co., 1928; Davenport, T.R.H., South Africa. A Modern History, London, Macmillan, 1978.

[23] Bundy, Colin, “New Nation, New History? Constructing the past in post-apartheid South Africa” in Conference Book Publication: Hans Erik Stolten (ed.), History-Making and Present Day Politics. The Meaning of Collective Memory in South Africa, NAI, 2007.

[24] Harriet Deacon, Sephai Mngqolo, and Sandra Prosalendis, “Protecting our cultural capital: a research plan for the heritage sector”, Occational Paper, 4, Democracy & Governance research Programme, Human Sciences Research Council, 2003; Albert Grundlingh, “Some Trends in South African Academic History: Changing Contexts and Challenges” in Shamil Jeppie, (ed.), Toward New Histories for South Africa: On the Place of the Past in our Present, pp. 196-215, Juta, 2004; Saleem Badat, “Return to critical scholarship”, Mail & Gaurdian Online, 15 April 2008.

[25] Blade Nzimande, “Articulation and disarticulation between progressive intellectuals: The state and progressive mass and worker organizations: A case for ‘Public Sociology?’, Speech at the Congress of the American Sociological Association, 15 August 2004.

[26] Burns, Catherine, “A useable past: the search for ‘history in chords’”, in Conference Book Publication: Hans Erik Stolten (ed.), History-Making and Present Day Politics. The Meaning of Collective Memory in South Africa, NAI, 2007.

[27] Some South African historians are aware of this: Saunders, Christopher, “Four decades of South African Academic Historical Writing: A personal perspective”, in Hans Erik Stolten (ed.), History-Making and Present Day Politics. The Meaning of Collective Memory in South Africa, NAI, 2007; Christopher Saunders , “Ahistorical Historiography: Review of Merle Lipton’s book, Liberals, Marxists, and Nationalists.

[28] Preben Kaarsholm’s review in the Danish newspaper Information of Thea Christiansen et al., Arbejdernes Skjold. Arbejderkamp og apartheid i Sydafrika 1900-60, København, Kom.S. Historie, 1987. My translation.

[29] Leslie Witz, “Review of Hans Erik Stolten, ed. History Making and Present Day Politics: The Meaning of Collective Memory in South Africa”, African Studies Review, Volume 51, Number 3, December 2008, pp. 186-188 (http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/african_studies_review/v051/51.3.witz.html, November 2009).

[30] Fortunately, not all reviews of my work have been unpleasant reading. A selection can be found on my website: http://www.jakobsgaardstolten.dk | Book Manuscripts.

[31] Franco Barchiesi, “The Debate on the Basic Income Grant in South Africa: Social Citizenship, Wage Labour and the Reconstruction of Working-Class solitics”, paper from conference: Engaging Silences and Unresolved Issues in the Political Economy of South Africa, Tenth Anniversary Colloquium 21-23 September 2006, Monkey Valley, Western Cape.

[32] Some seems to have spotted this tendency long before 1994: Lonsdale, John, “From colony to industrial state: South African historiography as seen from Eng­land”, Social Dynamics, 9, 1, 1983, p. 71; Bozzoli, Belinda, Intellectuals, Audiences and Histories: South African Experiences 1978-1988, Radical History Review, No. 46/7, pp. 237-263, 1990.

[33] Legassick, Martin (interviewed by Alex Lichtenstein), “The Past and Present of Marxist Historiography in South Africa”, Radical History Review, Issue 82, pp.lll—l30, 2002.

[34] Ticktin, Hillel, “The politics of race: Discrimination in South Africa”, Critique, A Journal of Socialist Theory, London, Pluto Press, 1991; Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic (eds.), Critical race theory: the cutting edge, Philadelphia, Temple University Press, 1999; Magnusson, Karl, Justifying Oppression. Perceptions of Race in South Africa between 1910 and 1961, Avhandling, Historiska institutionen, Göteborgs universitet, 2001; Simon Clarke, Social theory, psychoanalysis and racism, Macmillan, 2003.

[35] Nicoli Nattrass and Jeremy Seekings , “Citizenship and Welfare in South Africa: Deracialisation and Inequality in a Labour-Surplus Economy”, Canadian Journal of African Studies, Vol. 31, No. 3, 1997; Neeta Gathiram and David Hemson , “Transformation of welfare? Race, class, and gender in the management of welfare agencies in South Africa”, Community Development Journal, Vol. 37, pp. 209-219, Oxford University Press, 2002.

[36] Noberto Bobbio, Left and Right: The Significance of a Political Distinction, University of Chicago Press, 1997 (org. title: Destra e sinistra).

[37] Nico Cloete and Ian Bunting, Higher Education Transformation, Centre for Higher Education Transformation (CHET), Cape Town, 2000.

[38] Kiguwa, S.N.W., “National Reconciliation and Nation Building: Reflections on the TRC in Post-Apartheid South Africa”, Paper presented at conference: The TRC : Commissioning the past, University of the Witwaterstrand, June 1999.

[39] Marks, Shula and Trapido, Stanley (eds.), “Social History of Resistance in South Africa”, special issue of Journal of Southern African studies, Vol. 18, No. 1, Oxford University Press, 1992.

[40] In my view, for example; Norman Etherington, The Great Treks: The Transformation of Southern Africa, 1815-1854, London and New York, Pearson Longman, 2001; Louw, P. Eric, The Rise, Fall, and Legacy of Apartheid, Westport Conn., Praeger, 2004.

[41] M. Legassick and G. Minkley, “Current Trends in the production of South African history”, Alternation: International Journal for the study of Southern African Literature and Languages, 5, 1, 1998.

[42] Saunders, Christopher, “History Writing and Apartheid: Some Threads”, in Prah, Kwesi Kwaa, Knowledge in Black and White. The Impact of Apartheid on the Production and Reproduction of Knowledge, Cape Town, Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society (CASAS), 1999 (Referring to the wave of liberal Africanism spearheaded by Oxford History around 1970).

[43] Mbeki, Thabo, Africa Define Yourself, Cape Town, Tafelberg, 2002.

[44] Asmal Kader and James Wilmot, Spirit of the Nation, Reflections on South Africa’s Educational Ethos, NAE, HSRC and The Department of Education, 2002; “History and Archaeology Report”, updated version, Ministry of Education, 2002, http://education.pwv.gov.za; Jonathan Jansen, “The state of higher education in South Africa: From massification to mergers”, in Adam Habib, John Daniel and Roger Southall (eds.), State of the Nation, HSRC Press, 2003.

[45]   Hans Erik Stolten, “History writing and history education in post-apartheid South Africa”, in Disseminating and Using Research Results from the South, Report no. 3, 2004, Edited by Greta Bjørk Gudmundsdottir, Institute for Educational Research, University of Oslo. Also on the web: http://www.netreed.uio.no/articles/Papers_final/Stolten.pdf.

[46] For interpretations of the relationship between objectivity, neutrality, partiality, and truth which have inspired me, see for example: Kristensen, Marianne / Bloch-Poulsen, Jørgen, I mødet er sandheden - en videnskabsteoretisk debatbog om engageret objektivitet, Aalborg Universitetsforlag, 1997; Schaff, Adam, Historie og Sandhed, Historievidenskab, No. 9, Grenå, GMT , 1977. Original Polish title: Historia o Prawda.

[47] There is nothing haphazardly in this statement. On the presence of politics in history writing see, for example, Marks, Shula, “’Half-ally, half-untouchable at the same time': Britain and South Africa since 1959”, in Christabel (ed.), The Anti-Apartheid Movement: A 40-year Perspective, Conference Report: South Africa House, London, 25-26 June 1999, London, AAM Archives Committee, 2000.

[48] Gorm Gunnarsen, Patrick Mac Manus, Morten Nielsen og Hans Erik Stolten, “Et delt land i en delt verden”, introductory article in Gorm Gunnarsen, Patrick Mac Manus, Morten Nielsen , and Hans Erik Stolten (eds.), For enden af regnbuen? Social identitet og velfærd i det nye Sydafrika, Southern Africa Contact, Copenhagen, Denmark, 2007. A version in English of this book can be read on the web: At the end of the rainbow? Social identity and welfare state in the new South Africa, www.sydafrika.dk.

[49] Prah, Kwesi Kwaa & Ahmed, Abdel Ghaffar Mohammed (Eds.), Africa in Transformation: Political and Economic Transformation and Socio-Political Responses in Africa, Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa, OSSREA, 2000; Teresa Barnes, Centre for the Study of Higher Education University of the Western Cape in a debate 20-07-2005 on web-based H-SA-HIGHER-EDUCATION.

[50] My teaching at CAS , University of Copenhagen, has dealt with the transformation process in general. See my website: http://www.jakobsgaardstolten.dk/ | Teaching Notes.

[51] Evans, Richard J., In Defence of History, London, Granta, 1997. (Version used: Till historiens försvar, Stockholm: SNS, 2000); Geoff Eley and Keith Nield, The Future of Class in History. What’s Left of the Social? Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2007.

[52] Thomas Piketty highlighted the timeliness of this issue in his Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture held October 3 2015.                                    

[53] My general approach to the art of project formulation will emerge clearly from this PP-presentation: http://www.jakobsgaardstolten.dk/ | Teaching Notes | Notes on study techniques.

[54] Philipp Mayring, Qualitative Inhaltsanalyse: Grundlagen und Techniken, Beltz, 2008; Alain Fayolle, Paula Kyrö, Tõnis Mets and Urve Venesaar (eds.), Conceptual Richness and Methodological Diversity in Entrepreneurship Research, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013, pp. 296-301.

[55] As explicitly theorised in Talcott Parsons, The Evolution of Societies, Prentice Hall Foundations of Modern Sociology Series, Englewood Cliffs, 1977 (also by the same author: Societies, 1966 and The System of Modern Societies, compiled by Jackson Toby, 1971).

[56] The concept of “totalisation” is often connected, by non-Marxists, with concepts like “grand narrative”. It is regarded by many as oppressive, as when, for example, it is connected with Lukács’ concept of the proletariat as the “universal subject of history” or with Sartre’s concept of the Communist Party as a “practico-inert” totalisation of History. See Georg Lukács, “The Standpoint of the Proletariat” from History and Class Consciousness, 1923; Jean-Paul Sartre, “The Intelligibility of History: Totalisation without a Totaliser” from Critique of Dialectical Reason, 1960. The concept should not be confused with the ideological construct “totalitarianism” as described in Barbara Goodwin, Using political ideas, Chichester, John Wiley & Sons Ltd, 2007, p. 177.

[57] Essentialism is the view that, for any specific kind of entity, there is a set of characteristics or properties all of which any entity of that kind must have. In Platonic idealism, an essence of forms or ideas is permanent and unalterable.

[58] Reductionism is usually related to a certain perspective on causality. In a reductionist framework, phenomena can be explained completely in terms of other, more fundamental phenomena.

[59] For a warning on this, see Paul Maylam, South Africa’s Racial Past the History and Historiography of Racism, Segregation, and Apartheid, Research in migration and ethnic relations series, Aldershot, Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2001, p. 2.

[60] Widely accepted interpretations of these principles can be read in: Thurén, Torsten, Källkritik, Almqvist & Wiksell, 1997; Helge Paludan in Mordhorst, Mads and Nielsen, Carsten Tage, Fortidens spor, nutidens øjne: kildebegrebet til debat, Roskilde Universitetsforlag, 2001, p. 76; Drew, Allison, “'1922 and all that': Facts and The Writing of South African Political History” in Hans Erik Stolten (ed.), History-Making and Present Day Politics. The Meaning of Collective Memory in South Africa, NAI, 2007.

[61] Olden-Jørgensen, Sebastian, Til kilderne! Introduktion til historisk kildekritik, Gads Forlag, 1994/2001, p. 28.

[62] Martin W. Bauer and G.Gaskell, Qualitative Researching with text, image and sound. A practical handbook, Sage Publications, 2000, chp. 19. 

[63] Dilthey, Wilhelm, Kritik der Historischen Vernunft. From Meaning in history: W. Dilthey’s thoughts on history and society, H. P. Rickman (ed.), London, George Allen & Unwin, 1961.

[64] Kozicki, Henry (ed.), Developments in Modern Historiography, London, Macmillan Press, 1993.

[65] Skocpol, Theda, States and social revolutions: a comparative analysis of France, Russia, and China, Cambridge University Press, 1979, p. xiv.        

[66] Janet E. Helms (ed.), “Black and white racial identity: theory, research, and practice”, Contributions in Afro-American and African studies, Vol. 129, New York, Greenwood Press, 1990.

[67] Davies, Robert H., Kaplan, Morris, and O'Meara, “Class Struggle and the Periodisation of the State in South Africa”, Review of African Political Economy, No. 7, 1976; Appleby, Joyce, Hunt, Lynn, et al., Telling the Truth About History, W.W. Norton & Company Ltd, 1995; Koselleck, Reinhart, The Practice of Conceptual History: Timing History, Spacing Concepts, Cultural Memory in the Present, Stanford University Press, 2002.

[68] Roland Barthes quoted in Flemming Svith (red.), At opdage verden: research - fra akademikere til journalister, Århus, Ajour, 2007, pp. 40.

[69] L. Salter and A. Hearn, Outside the lines: Issues in Interdisciplinary Research, McGill

Queen’s Press, Montreal, 1996, p. 9

[70] Bozzoli, Belinda and Delius, Peter, “Radical History and South African Society”, Radical History Review, 46/7, pp. 14-45,        1990.

[71] Georg Kneer and Armin Nassehi, Niklas Luhmanns Theorie sozialer Systeme: eine Einführung, München, Fink, 1993; Tore Bakken and Tor Hernes (eds.), Autopoietic organization theory: drawing on Niklas Luhmann’s social systems perspective, Oslo, 2003.

[72] Booth Wayne C., Wayne C., Colomb, Gregory G, Williams, Joseph M., The Craft of Research, The University of Chicago Press, 2003.

[73] Editorial, “History and Theory” in History Workshop Journal, 6, 1978; Black, Jeremy and Donald D. MacRaild, Studying History, Second Ed., New York, Palgrave, 2000.

[74] Popper, Karl R., Conjectures and Refutations: the Growth of Scientific Knowledge, London, Routledge, 1972; Bo Jacobsen, Hvad er god forskning – psykologiske og sociologiske perspektiver, Kbh., Hans Reitzel, 2001.

[75] Toulmin, Stephen E., The Uses of Argument, Updated ed., Cambridge University Press, 2003.

[76] Norvick, Peter, That noble dream: the ‘objectivity question’ and the American historical profession, Cambridge University Press, 1988; Dahl, Ottar, “Om ‘sannhet’ i historien”, Historisk Tidsskrift, Vol. 3, pp. 365-73, 1999.

[77] Mark Sanders, Complicities:  The Intellectual and Apartheid, Philosophy and Postcoloniality Series, Durham and London, Duke University Press, 2002; Vincent L., “Whats love got to do with it? The effect of affect in the academy”, Politikon, South African Journal of Political Studies, Vol. 31,1, 2004, pp. 105-115.

[78] Marx / Engels / Lenin, On Historical Materialism. A Collection, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1972; Engelberg, Ernst / Küttler, Wolfgang (herausg.), Probleme der geschichtswissenschaftlichen Erkenntnis, Akademie Verlag, Berlin, DDR , 1977; Cohen, G.A, Karl Marx's Theory of History. A Defence, Oxford University Press, 1978/84; Wood, Ellen Meiksins, Democracy Against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism, Cambridge University Press, 1996; Diakonoff, Igor M., The Paths of History, Cambridge University Press, 1999. I remain dubious to the analytical value of some varieties of organisationally uncommitted and politically spineless neo-Marxism, often misleadingly called anti-essentialist or non-determinist Marxism, exemplified by Charles Bettelheim, Pierre-Philipe Rey, Emanuel Terray, and others.

[79] Wolpe, H., “The Liberation Struggle and Research”, Review of African Political Economy, Vol. 32, 1985

[80] Collin, Finn, Social Reality, The Problems of Philosophy, London, Routledge, 1997; “What Do We Owe Postmodernism?”, Review on H-Net by Cynthia Kros 7 June 2005 of Willie Thompson, Postmodernism and History, Theory and History Series, New York, Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

[81] Dollery, B. E., “Capital, Labour and State: a General Equilibrium perspective on Liberal and Revisionist Approaches to South African Political Economy,” The South African Journal of Economics, Vol. 57, No. 2, 1989.

[82] Manniche, Jens Chr., Den radikale historikertradition: Studier i dansk historievidenskabs forudsætninger og normer, Aarhus, Jysk selskab for historie, nr. 38, 1981; Steinmetz, George (ed.), The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences: Positivism and its Epistemological Others, Politics, History and Culture, Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.

[83] J Hawthorn, Jeremy, Cunning passages: new historicism, cultural materialism and Marxism in the contemporary literary debate, Interrogating texts, London, Arnold,1996; Jan Ifversen, “Tekster er kilder og kilder er tekster - kildekritik og historisk tekstanalyse”, in Mordhorst, Mads and Nielsen, Carsten Tage, Fortidens spor, nutidens øjne: kildebegrebet til debat, Frederiksberg, Roskilde Universitetsforlag, 2001; Clark, Elizabeth A., History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 2004; Klaus Kjøller, Tekst for viderekomne: tekstproduktion og sproglig rådgivning, Samfundslitteratur, 2004.

[84] Kuhn, Thomas, The structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, 1962; White, Hayden, “The Politics of History”, in White, Hayden: The Content of the Form, pp. 58-82, Baltimore/London, 1986; Bourdieu, Pierre, Homo Academicus, Symposion - det lilla forlaget, 1996 (Swedish edition).

[85] Zell, Hans M. and Cecilie Lomer, The African Studies Companion. A Ressource Guide and Directory, Second ed., Hans Zell Publ., 2003; Toyin Falola and Christian Jennings, (eds.), Sources and Methods in African History: Spoken, Written, Unearthed, Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora, University of Rochester Press, 2003.

[86] Calhoun, Craig, Social Theory and the Politics of Identity, Oxford, Blackwell, 1994; Hamilton, Carolyn, “Historiography and the Politics of Identity in South Africa”, Centre for African Studies, University of Cape Town, 1997; Reddy, Thiven, Hegemony and Resistance: Contesting Identities in South Africa, Race and Representation, Aldershot, Ashgate, 2000.

[87] Ewald, Janet, “Foxes in the Field: an Essay on a Historical Methodology”, African Studies Review, Vol. 30, No. 2, African Studies Association, Atlanta, 1987; Jan Vansina, “Fieldwork in History”, in Adenaike, Carolyn Keynes and Jan Vansina (eds.), In Pursuit of History: Fieldwork in Africa, pp. 127-140, Social History of Africa, Heinemann, 1996.

[88] Peter Vale, Larry A. Swatu, Bertil Odén, and Tiomothy M. Shaw (eds.), Theory, Change and Southern Africa’s Future, International Political Economy Series, 2001; Janet M. and Jones, Bradford S., Timing and Political Change: Event History Modeling in Political Science, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003.

[89] Bill Freund , “Economic History in South Africa: an Introductory Overview”, South African Historical Journal, Vol. 34, 1996; Seekings, Jeremy and Nicoli Nattrass, “Apartheid Revisited: Analysing Apartheid as a Distributional Regime”, Graduate school of Humanities with the Centre for African Studies Seminar, University of Cape Town, 2000.

[90] Shula Marks, “Towards a Peoples History of South Africa”, in Hobsbawm (ed.), Journal of History, Vol. 7, No. 4, 1974; William Beinart and JoAnn McGregor, (eds.), Social History and African Environments, Ohio University Press, 2003.

[91] Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (eds.), The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge University Press, 1983; Mamdani, Mahmood, Beyond Rights-Talk and Culture-Talk, David Philip, 2000; Rüsen, Jörn  (ed.), Western historical thinking: an intercultural debate, Making sense of history, New York, Berghahn Books, 2002. 

[92] Morrell, Robert (ed.), Changing Men in Southern Africa, Pietermaritzburg, University of Natal press, 2001; Kevane, Michael, Women and development in Africa: how gender works, Boulder, Colorado, Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004.

[93] Fredrik Barth, Ethnic groups and boundaries: the social organization of culture difference, Bergen, Universitetsforlaget, 1969; Eric R. Wolf, Europe and the People Without History, Berkeley, UCP , 1982; Adam Kuper, “The academic frontier: history and social anthropology in South Africa”, African Studies, spec. issue, Vol. 56, No. 2, Witwatersrand University Press, 1997; Deborah James, “Anthropology, History, and the Making of Past and Place”, African Studies, spec. issue, Vol. 56, No. 2, Witwatersrand University Press, 1997; Bernard Malzhosezwe Magubane, “The Social Construction of Race and Citizenship in South Africa”, Papers for the UNRISD Conference on Racism and Public Policy, Durban, South Africa 3-5 September 2001; Don Kalb and Herman Tak (eds.), Critical Junctions: Anthropology and History Beyond The Cultural Turn, New York: Berghahn Books, 2005.

[94] Aletta J. Norval, Deconstructing apartheid discourse, London, Verso, 1996; Ian Parker, Ann Levett, Amanda Kottler og Erica Burman, “On discourse, power, culture and change”, in Ann Levett, Amanda Kottler, Erica Burman, and Ian Parker (eds.), Culture, Power and Difference: Discourse Analysis in South Africa, University of Cape Town Press, 1997; Achim Landwehr, Geschichte des Sagbaren: Einführung in die historische Diskursanalyse, Historische Einführungen, 8, Tübingen, Edition diskord, 2001; André Sonnichsen, ”Unmaking ‘the people’: the restructuring of political space in post-apartheid South Africa”, Paper from conference, Eighth Essex Graduate Conference in Political Theory: Multitude, People, Resistance, 2007.

[95] See critiques in Clifton C. Crais, “South Africa and the Pitfalls of Postmodernism”, South African Historical Journal, Vol. 31, 1994; Maylam, Paul, “Dead Horses, the Baby, and the Bathwater: ‘Post-theory’ and the historians practice”, South African Historical Society, Paper presented at the Biennial Conference UWC 11-14/7, Bellville, 1999; Willie Thompson, Postmodernism and History, Theory and History Series, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

[96] Peter Lambley, The Psychology of Apartheid, London, Secker og Warburg, 1980; Bornman, Elirea, “Self-image and Ethnic Identification in South Africa”, Journal of Social Psychology, Vol. 139, No. 4, p. 411-425, 1999.

[97] Irmline Veit-Brause, “Paradigms, Schools, Traditions conceptualizing Shifts and Changes in the History of Historiography”, Storia Della Storiografia, Vol. 17, 1990.

[98] I have to admit that I look upon an archetypical postmodernist statement as Foucault, Michel, “On the ways of writing history”, in  Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology: Essential Works of Foucault, volume 2, James D. Faubion (Ed.) , Part Two, pp. 279 – 296 , Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1967/98, as something between Nostradamus's quatrains and Voelven’s prophecies. His methodology in this “interview” is amateurish.

[99] Wulf Kansteiner, "Searching for an Audience: The Historical Profession in the Media Age - A Comment on Arthur Marwick and Hayden White", Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 31, 1996; A Danish example: Dyrberg, T.B., Hansen, A.D., Torfing, J. (red.), Diskursteorien på arbejde, Roskilde Universitetsforlag, 2000.

[100] Even if I most often disagree with them, there is a lot to be learned from postmodernist South African writers such as Aletta J. Norval, Thiven Reddy, Ann Levett, Robert Turrell, and Mark Sanders. Also see Foucault, Michel, “Return to History” in J. D. Faubion (Ed.), Aesthetics, Method, and Epistemology: Essential Works of Foucault, Vol. 2, pp. 419 – 433, Penguin Books, Harmondsworth, 1998/1967. An educational Danish example: Katrin Hjort (red.), Diskurs. Analyser af tekst og kontekst, Frederiksberg, Samfundslitteratur, 1997, pp. 7-18.

[101] Thomas Kuhn, The structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, 1962. Used version: Thomas Kuhn, Videnskabens revolutioner, København, Fremad, 1973, pp. 183, 189, 192.

[102] Steven Best, The Politics of Historical Vision: Marx, Foucault, Habermas, The Guilford Press, 1995, p. 145.

[103] Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge University Press, 1977, p. 233 (Originally 1972).

[104] Bourdieu, Sketch for a Self-Analysis, op. cit., p. 10, 107.

[105] Hayden White, The Content of the Form: Narrative Discourse and Historical Representation, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987, ch. 3, “The Politics of Historical Interpretation”, p. 58.

[106] Anthony Giddens, Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: an Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber, Cambridge University Press, 1972; Michael Löwy, “Weber against Marx? The Polemic with Historical Materialism in The Protestant Ethic”, Science & Society, An Independent Journal of Marxism, Vol. 53, No. 1, pp. 72-84, New York, Guilford Publ., 1989.

[107] Max Weber, Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft. Grundriß der verstehenden Soziologie, 5. Auflage, Tübingen, Johannes Winckelmann, 1980 (first published 1921/1922/1956).

[108] Even if many Marxist have written on the subject with great determination from the very beginning, as for instance, G. V. Plekhanov, “On the Role of Personality in History” in Georgi Plekhanov, Selected Philosophical Works, Volume 2, pp. 283-315, Moscow, Progress Publishers, 1976 (also in 1956, first published in 1907, also in Plekhanov’s book Twenty Years and in an earlier pamphlet, I think); Lucien Sève, Marxisme et théorie de la personnalité, Paris, Éditions sociales, 3. éd., 1974 (first edition 1969).

[109] Norbert Elias, Über den Proces der Zivilisation. Soziogenetische und Psykogenetische Untersuchungen, 1-2, Bern, A. Francke AG, 1969 (first published in Switzerland in 1939 while he was in exile in France, English version, The Civilizing Process, 1995).

[110] Yvonna S. Lincoln, “Engaging Sympathies: Relationships between Action Research

and Social Constructivism” in P. Reason and H. Bradbury (eds.), Handbook of Action Research, Participatory Inquiry and Practice, Sage Publications, 2005 (first published 2001) p. 124.

[111] G.A. Cohen was professor of social and political theory and fellow of All Souls, Oxford University. For an introduction to Cohen’s framework, see “Forces and Relations of Production” in John Roemer (ed.), Analytical Marxism, Cambridge University Press, 1986, pp. 11-22.

[112] Donald L. Donham, op. cit., p. 55.

[113] See also, Anthony Giddens, Central Problems in Social Theory: Action, Structure and Contradiction in Social Analysis, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1979.

[114] Hans-Georg Gadamer, Warheit und Methode. Grundzüge einer Philosophischen Hermeneutik, 1960. English version used: Truth and method, London, Continuum, 2004, p. 271.

[115] Edward Said, Orientalism: western conceptions of the Orient, London, Penguin Books, 1995 (originally 1978): “My contention is that Orientalism is fundamentally a political doctrine willed over the Orient because the Orient was weaker than the West”. See also M.E. Baaz, “Introduction – African identity and the postcolonial” in Maria Eriksson Baaz and Mai Palmberg (eds.), Same and Other. Negotiating African Identity in Cultural Production, Uppsala, NAI, 2001; Ato Quayson, Postcolonialism: theory, practice or process?, Polity Press and Blackwell Publishers, 2000. 

[116] Saul Dubow, Scientific Racism in Modern South Africa, Cambridge University Press,    1995;  Daryl Glaser, Politics and Society in South Africa: a critical introduction, SAGE Publications, 2001. 

[117] Paul Nugent, “Engaging Africa: Past, Present and Future”, keynote speech at the 25-years jubilee at the Centre of African Studies, University of Copenhagen, February 2010, unpublished. For a more comprehensive periodisation of post-colonial Africa, see Frederick Cooper, Africa since 1940: The past of the present, Cambridge University Press, 2002.

[118] For more on this method, see Dan O'Meara, “Theoretical Appendix” in Forty lost Years: The Apartheid State and the Politics of the National Party, 1948-1994, Ravan Press and Ohio University Press, 1996, p. 426.

[119] In this connection, ontological means the understanding of different ways of being, thereby creating systems of classification; epistemological stands for the concern with the criteria by which knowledge can be established and so with truth, falsehood and proof; normative here means the values expressed by the authors. Some historians (Ottar Dahl for instance) seem to think that “appraisive tellings” (in contrast to cognitive values), can only be used isolated as a source to the author’s view. I do not fully share this opinion.

[120] Merle Lipton, Liberals, Marxists, and Nationalists: Competing Interpretations of South African History, Palgrave, Macmillan, 2007; André Sonnichsen, “Unmaking ‘the people’: the restructuring of political space in post-apartheid South Africa”, Paper from conference, Eighth Essex Graduate Conference in Political Theory: Multitude, People, Resistance, 2007.

[121] Marianne Cornevin, Apartheid: Power and Historical Falsification, Unesco, Paris, 1980; James Leatt, Theo Kneifel, and Klaus Nürnberger (eds.), Contending Ideologies in South Africa, Cape Town, David Philip, 1986; Charles Villa-Vicencio, A Theology of Reconstruction: Nationbuilding and Human Rights, Cambridge Studies in Ideology and Religion, Cambridge University Press, 1992.

[122] Consequently, a number of works on this issue have appeared, for example, John W. de Gruchy, Christianity and Democracy. A Theology for a Just World Order, Cape Town, David Philip, 1995; Norman Etherington, “Recent Trends in the Historiography of Christianity in Southern Africa”, Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 22, No. 2, (Jun., 1996), pp. 201-219; Rune Forsbeck, ‘Gör ni då inte åtskillnad...?’ Kyrkorna och södra Afrika 1960–1994, Stockholm, Nielsen and Norén förlag, 2007 (On the role of the Swedish Church in the anti-apartheid struggle).

[123] Peter Phelan and Peter Reynolds, Argument and evidence: critical analysis for the social sciences, London, Routledge, 1996.

[124] Erving Goffman, Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization of Experience, Northeastern University Press Edition, 1986 (first printed 1974); Paul D’Angelo and Jim A. Kuypers (eds.), Doing News Framing Analysis: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives, New Youk, Routledge, 2010.

[125] For an introduction in Danish, see Sebastian Olden-Jørgensen, Til kilderne! Introduktion til historisk kildekritik, Gads Forlag, 1994/2001, p. 28.

[126] For instance Karis, Carter, and Gerhart (eds.), From Protest to Challenge. A Documentary History of African Politics in South Africa 1882-1964, Vol. 1-4, Standford University, 1972 – 77; Peter Limb, The ANC and Black Workers in South Africa 1912-1992: An Annotated Bibliography, London, Hans Zell Publishers, 1993.

[127] Matthias Schonlau, Ronald D. Fricker Jr., and Marc N. Elliott, Conducting Research Surveys via E-Mail and the Web, Santa Monica, Rand, 2002; Don A. Dillman, Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method, New York, John Wiley & Sons, 2nd ed., 2007 update.

[128] A classical example is Houghton, Hobart D., The South African Economy, Cape Town, Oxford University Press, 1964.

[129] Could be exemplified by Johnstone, F. R., “Most Painful to Our Hearts: South Africa through the eyes of the New School,” Canadian Journal of African Studies, Vol. 16/1, 1982.

[130] Wright, Harrison M., The Burden of the Present. Liberal-radical controversy over Southern African history, Cape Town: David Philip, 1977.

[131] O'Meara, Dan, Class, Capital and Ideology in Development of Afrikaner Nationalism., Ph. D., University of Sussex, 1979.

[132] Lipton, Merle, “Capitalism and Apartheid” in Lonsdale, J. (ed.), South Africa in Question, London, 1988.

[133] Johnstone, F. R.: “White Prosperity and White Supremacy in South Africa Today”, African Affairs, 69/275, 1970.

[134] Greenberg, Stanley B., Race and State in Capitalist Development: comparative perspectives, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1980.

[135] Wolpe, Harold, Race, Class and the Apartheid State, Paris, Unesco, 1988.

[136] Deacon, Roger A., “Hegemoni, Essentialism and Radical History in South Africa”, South African Historical Journal, Vol. 24, 1991.

[137] Norval, Aletta J., “Social Ambiguity and the Crisis of Apartheid”, in Laclau, Ernesto (ed.), The Making of Political Identities, London: Verso, 1994.

[138] Vivian Bickford-Smith, Elizabeth Van Heyningen and Nigel Worden, Cape Town in the 20th Century, 1999.

[139] Gerhard Maré, Brothers Born of Warrior Blood. Politics and Ethnicity in South Africa, Ravan, 1992.

[140] Paul la Hausse, “Oral history and South African Historians”, in Radical History Review, Vol. 46/7, 1990.

[141] Norman Etherington, “Recent Trends in the Historiography of Christianity in Southern Africa”, Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 22, No. 2, 1996.         

[142] Packard, Randall M., White Plague, Black Labor: Tuberculosis and the Political Economy of Health and Disease in South Africa, University of California Press, Berkeley, 1989.

[143] Anthony Holiday, “Forgiving and forgetting: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission”, Nuttall, Sarah and Carli Coetzee (eds.), Negotiating the Past: The Making of Memory in South Africa, Cape Town, Oxford University Press, 1998.

[144] Ralph A. Austen, “'Africanist' Historiography and its Critics: can there be an autonomous African History?” in Toyin Falola (ed.), African historiography. Essays in honour of Jacob Ade Ajayi, Harlow: Longman, 1993.

[145] Rob Sieborger et al., Turning Points in History, Textbook series commissioned by SA Department of Education, STE Publishers, 2004.

[146] Christopher Saunders, “Radical History - the Wits Workshop Version – Reviewed”, South African Historical Journal, Vol. 24, 1991.

[147] Sampie Terreblanche, A History of Inequality in South Africa 1652 - 2002, University of Natal Press, 2002.

[148] As shown in experiments, where deliberately meaningless contributions have been submitted to, and published by, learned, peer-reviewed journals. This kind of irony has even lead to the coding of computer programs, which automatically can generate impressive, but hollow, sentence formulations in business and academic lingo (e.g. http://www.dack.com/web/bullshit.html).

[149] See my website: http://www.jakobsgaardstolten.dk/ | Stolten’s NAI Page and http://www.jakobsgaardstolten.dk/ | History Conference.




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