Through the Looking Glass: An Intersectional Lens of South African Education Policy

  • Michèle J. SchmidtEmail author
  • Raj Mestry
Part of the The Politics of Intersectionality book series (POLI)


This chapter explores South African education policies by using an intersectionally informed approach to policy processes. It focuses on curriculum and school fee policies as a platform for discussion of the unique approach the government employed to modify their adoption of democracy and transformation. Unfortunately, many scholars reluctantly concede that South Africa’s ambitious policy initiatives fail to provide social justice in schools. With a political ideology of democracy emerging, one would think that democratic educational structures would act to diminish race, class, and gender inequalities; however, this has not been a pervasive result. By advancing a case for intersectionality when undertaking policy processes, policymakers are recommended to understand what foregrounds the policy in regard to complex contexts, class, gender, and race. Intersectionality reveals a variety of multi-level overlapping social locations, forces, factors, and power structures that shape and influence South African life and education. This chapter challenges the normative approach towards policy processes by introducing an intersectionally policy-informed approach to examine policy processes. Intersectionally developed public policy is significant because it is a means by which societies regulate themselves and attempt to channel human behaviour. In this way, policies have profound and pervasive effects on individuals and populations.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Simon Fraser UniversityBurnabyCanada
  2. 2.University of JohannesburgJohannesburgSouth Africa

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