Projects

Mobile filmmaking

This project entails further refining and developing the technological apparatus necessary for the creation of broad quality digital film media from a mobile source taking into cognizance the specific advantages that such a breakthrough would have for millions of previously disadvantaged South African citizens whose access to the “mainframe” of the digital grid is extremely … [Read more]

“Many Voices One Song.” Health-promoting Schools: Evidence, Strategies, Challenges and Prospects

Globally, a moral imperative exists to ensure that all children are provided with the resources and environment necessary to enable them to reach their individual potential, and the call for investment to improve the health of children is almost universal. In parallel technological approaches are being sought to simplify prevention, diagnosis and management of disease. … [Read more]

Informational Development and Human Development: South Africa in a Global Perspective

In a current comparative research project the interaction between informational development and human development has been examined in various contexts, including Finland, Silicon Valley, Chile and Taiwan. The project aims at extending the analysis to South Africa. The study has a major policy component, as its final aim is to propose ways to link the … [Read more]

Linear vs. Polarizing Trends in World Social Processes

Over the past two centuries, the dominant view in social science has been that the modern world shows a pattern of linear development in which all positive trends go upward in more or less linear fashion (albeit perhaps at an uncertain speed), and that therefore over time discrepancies between the leaders and the laggards are … [Read more]

Literacy Practices of Multilingual Students

Traditionally, teachers of reading and writing have assumed texts as monolingual and monomodal. This dominant orientation to textuality, variously referred to as alphabetic literacy or autonomous literacy, has resulted in the multilingual literacy practices of students being perceived as deficient. Schooling has engaged in suppressing the multilingual and multimodal literacy practices and imposing alphabetic literacy … [Read more]

Lawmaking for Global Crisis Situations

More likely than not, the world will be facing a series of serious crises, connected to climate change, environmental disasters, natural catastrophes, shortage of all kinds of raw materials and sources of mineral energy, as well as new financial crises. To the extent they are man-made, they probably have common denominators, most importantly a short … [Read more]

Population, Land, Food: Malthus and Africa

A study of how Malthus relates to understanding, and resolving, the food-land-population predicaments of sub-Saharan Africa. After “green revolutions”, most of Asia enjoys rapid growth and stabilizing population. Yet growth in sub-Saharan Africa is slow and patchy, while projected 2050 population is ten times 1950 levels (already it has risen sixfold).  Food production – and … [Read more]

What is a Rational Response to Catastrophic Risk?

When it comes to low probability-high impact (even catastrophic) risk, the judgment of ordinary people, it seems, is not to be trusted.  Emotions (like fear) are said to override our capacity for rational response. As one commentator puts it, “we have a confounding habit of worrying about mere possibilities while ignoring probabilities, building barricades against … [Read more]

Rethinking Capitalist Crisis: A Neo-Polanyian Perspective

This project seeks to overcome the (economistic, functionalist) limitations of received understandings of crisis, by drawing on the thought of Karl Polanyi, especially his 1944 work, The Great Transformation.  My aim is to reconstruct Polanyi’s key ideas (fictitious commodification, the double movement) in a form suitable to clarifying the crisis tendencies of the 21st century. … [Read more]

Faith and Fabric (The status of ‘secular modernity’ in an African context)

In 2005/2006 the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin hosted an inter-disciplinary research project on “secular modernity” in which world-renowned Fellows like Hans Joas (German sociologist at the Freiburh Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS), professor of the University of Chicago), who led the project, Charles Taylor (Canadian philosopher) and Jose Casanova (sociologist of religion from New York), amongst … [Read more]