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Policy Research in South Africa: Quo Vadis?

07 November 2013
13:00 - 14:30

Presenter: Tim Hart, Senior Research Manager, Economic Performance and Development, HSRC

Date: 7 November 2013
Time: 13:00 – 14:30

Policy Research typically focuses on improving policy that is inadequate, inefficient, or ineffective. Undoubtedly, some policies are poorly conceptualised and poorly implemented. But are all policies poorly conceptualised? Some people benefit from policy making while others do not seem to be able to benefit from the same policies. If all policies were inherently good and well meaning would more people benefit? Is good policy implementable?

The presentation addresses these questions using examples from national statistics, local surveys and an ethnographic case study. Policy implementation is far from a simple technocratic process and is heavily influenced by the actors involved. The evidence suggests that policy research must adopt a more sociological and anthropological focus to understand the influences of the multiple actors along the policy implementation pathway. It is crucial to understand how policy is implemented in practice. The appropriate research question is not whether policy has succeeded or failed, but rather in what ways and why it might have succeeded or failed?

Kindly RSVP by 3 November 2013

This seminar may be attended via video conference in Pretoria, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal. Details as below.  

Cape Town : HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten, Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299, or

Durban :  First floor HSRC board room, 750 Francois Road, Ntuthuko Junction, Pods 5 and 6, Cato Manor, Contact Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or

Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811, e-mail: