When solar current is cheap, plentiful and lasts all night through…what then of coming energy systems in Africa?

Organic photovoltaic systems now give more than 10% conversion efficiency from sunlight.  Further developments can make this form of electricity competitive with fossil based electricity in sun rich latitudes. To make electricity available when the sun is down is critical for use of the technology. New materials are needed for a scalable electrical storage, matching … [Read more]

An Evolutionary Cybernetic Theory of Semiosis

In recent years, particularly in the emerging field of biosemiotics, it has been proposed that semiotics – the study of signification processes – could bring a paradigmatic shift in our scientific conception of life, and consequently in scientific biology in general and beyond. Most if not all semiotic notions, however, derive from studies in logic … [Read more]

Balancing social welfare and private maintenance: the alleviation of poverty in South Africa

South African (family) lawyers continue to focus on the private maintenance obligation as the primary instrument for alleviating poverty. In line with political and economic policy promoting a shift away from welfare to a developmental state, they underestimate the risks to our democracy and the maintenance of the rule of law arising from social unrest … [Read more]

The work of culture in an age of informational capital

The major project is to outline and pursue further research on the forthcoming book, titled ‘Intellectual Property and its Publics: The Work of Culture in an Era of Informational Capital’ which explores new pressures and tendencies to treat culture as a resource and the growing propensity to claim rights on cultural grounds under neoliberal capitalism. … [Read more]

Reparations for Victims of Apartheid

In spite of the increasing recognition in international law of the need for reparations for victims of serious human rights violations, the overwhelming majority of victims of Apartheid has not been compensated by the South African government and has not had access to legal avenues for the payment of such reparations. The issue of reparations has been described … [Read more]

The impact of a global economic crisis on political parties in competitive democracies

The research project deals with the impact of a severe global economic crisis on political parties in representative democracies. At its core it investigates the consequences of the economic crisis on (1) the parties’ policy supply as presented in their party election programmes and (2) the parties’ election results. Two hypotheses are tested. First, it … [Read more]

Biological Laws: Analogies and Allometries

The question of whether there are laws in ecology is important. If there are no ecological laws, this would seem to distinguish ecology from other branches of science. It could also make a difference to the methodology of ecology. If there are no laws, ecologists would be in the business of merely supplying a suite of useful models. These models would need to … [Read more]

Socioecononomic health inequalities: measurement, explanation and policy evaluation

The main purpose of this project is to identify and quantify the major causal mechanisms that drive the changes in socioeconomic health inequalities in Sweden. Specific aims are as follows: 1) To model the causal relationships between health, income, employment, lifestyle and diseases; 2) To utilize new decomposition techniques for mobility indices akin to those … [Read more]

Money from nothing: popular economies and indebtedness in South Africa

This project explores the over-indebtedness of South African consumers, set against the longer history of exploitation of South African black people by the forces of capitalism, and interrogates how these currently manifest themselves in an allegedly ‘neoliberal’ social order.  With upward mobility much aspired-to but seldom attained, householders must spend money they have not yet … [Read more]

Information and Codes in Biochemistry

Biochemists traditionally accept the view that life is an extremely complex form of chemistry (the “Chemical paradigm”), a view which implies that genetic information and the genetic code are but metaphorical concepts because they cannot be described by physical quantities. Wächtershäuser, for example, claimed that: “On the level of nucleic acids it is quite convenient … [Read more]