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© 2020

The African National Congress and Participatory Democracy

From People's Power to Public Policy

  • Challenges arguments suggesting that the democracy established after 1994 is unrelated to people’s power

  • Seeks to show that the dominant discourse of democracy in the ANC has been shaped by the notion of vanguardism

  • Extends our existing knowledge of the intellectual heritage and conceptual trajectory of South Africa’s ruling party

Book
  • 905 Downloads

Part of the The Theories, Concepts and Practices of Democracy book series (PSTCD)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Heidi Brooks
    Pages 1-34
  3. Heidi Brooks
    Pages 63-115
  4. Heidi Brooks
    Pages 165-218
  5. Heidi Brooks
    Pages 219-240
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 241-244

About this book

Introduction

This book examines the development of democratic thought in the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa, with a focus on the movement’s ideas about participatory democracy. It makes particular reference to two key periods: the 1980s ‘people’s power’ movement and the subsequent years of policy formulation from 1990 when the ANC began to design and implement a system of participatory democracy alongside a representative government. Through the examination of historic documents and in-depth interviews with former ANC activists, government officials and those involved in policy development, the author explores the inspiration for the party’s commitment to establishing participatory democracy. The book combines democratic theory and political and intellectual history to look at the role of popular participation as part of a broader trajectory of the ANC’s democratic thought. It critically engages with concepts used in the party’s participatory discourse with a view to deepening our understanding of how ideas have shaped the construction of South Africa’s democracy.

Heidi Brooks is Senior Lecturer in Political and International Studies at IIE MSA and Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. She has produced several publications on the development of democratic thought in the ANC and on conceptions of democracy in South Africa.

Keywords

participatory democracy ANC South African politics participatory policy democratic consolidation people’s power democracy discourse of democracy ANC democratic thought vanguardism vanguard movement radical democratic theory framing of participation citizen participation democratic crisis popular protest

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political and International StudiesMonash South AfricaJohannesburgSouth Africa

About the authors

Heidi Brooks is Senior Lecturer in Political and International Studies at IIE MSA and Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg, South Africa. She has produced several publications on the development of democratic thought in the ANC and on conceptions of democracy in South Africa.

Bibliographic information

Reviews

“Amidst the mass of literature on the ANC, this book stands out for its conceptual clarity. By carefully analyzing the enormous diversity of the movement’s theoretical traditions, Heidi Brooks demonstrates how the ANC has sought (and ultimately failed) to combine political control from above with creative participation from below. This is more than an excursion into the ANC’s intellectual history. It shines a powerful light on the contradictions and travails of the liberation movement in power.” (Roger Southall, Emeritus Professor in Sociology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa)