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Rebellion of the Poor: Research, politics, policing and people

30 June 2016
08:30 - 15:30

Invitation to participate in a Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) Research Seminar scheduled on 30 June 2016

TIME:         08:30 – 15:30

The seminar will focus on four themes: (1) key findings of the research (2) government responses, (3) policing, and (4) community participation.

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) in collaboration with the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and the South African Research Chair in Social Change at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) are hosting two Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) Research Seminars on the above-mentioned topics.

Presentations available for download below

This seminar may be attended via the HSRC video conferences in Pretoria, Cape Town , Port Elizabeth and KwaZulu-Natal. The speakers will be located in Pretoria.

You may also join via Vidyo on your computer or mobile device via the link:

The workshop is intended to be highly focussed to reflect on community protests. Although these protests have been often associated with service delivery, research by Alexander et al. (2010) shows that these protests are not just about service delivery, but amounted to a rebellion of the poor. In order to gain further understanding of these protests and their causes, Prof P Alexander established a new research project, building on insights gained from an earlier study that appeared in the book, Class in Soweto (2013), which has recently been awarded the NIHSS prize for best edited book.

The value of the seminar is that it brings together researchers, policymakers and knowledge producers to engage around current practice. Such engagements will potentially  inform policy strategies and mechanisms that may facilitate the promotion of the social sciences and humanities and innovation for inclusive development at national and organisational levels.

The DST-HSRC Human and Social Dynamics (HSD) research seminar series is designed to: (1) showcase research and knowledge production in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) generated by the National System of Innovation (NSI); (2) serve as vehicles for disseminating research evidence to wider and diverse audiences; (3) operate as platforms for the sharing of local and international expertise and experience; and  (4) promote research and knowledge production in the SSH that benefits and enhances the NSI.

2016: Carin Runciman, Peter Alexander, Mahlatse Rampedi, Boikanyo Moloto, Boitumelo Maruping, Eunice Khumalo and Sehlaphi Sibanda, Counting Police-recorded Protests: Based on South African Police Service Data. Johannesburg: Social Change Research Unit, University of Johannesburg. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.1.1191.8962.

 2015: Peter Alexander, Carin Runciman and Boitumelo Maruping, South African Police Service (SAPS) Data on Crowd Incidents: A Preliminary Analysis. Johannesburg: Social Change Research Unit, University of Johannesburg.

2015: Peter Alexander ‘South Africa’s twin rebellions: bifurcated protest’, Open Movements section of Open Debate,6 October.’s-twin-rebellions-bifurcated-protest.

2014: Peter Alexander and Peter Pfaffe, Social Relationships to the Means and Ends of Protest in South Africas Ongoing Rebellion of the Poor: the Balfour Insurrections.Social Movement Studies: Journal of Social, Cultural and Political Protest 13(2), Pages 204-221.

2014: Carin Runciman, ‘Protests have a huge impact on SA economy’ SABC digital news,

2014: Trevor Ngwane, ‘Protest Nation: What’s Driving the Protests on the Streets of South Africa?’, South African Civil Society Information Service,

2014: Peter Alexander, Carin Runciman and Trevor Ngwane, ‘Growing civil unrest shows yearning for accountability’, Business Day, 7 March, page 11.

2014: Peter Alexander, ‘The reasons behind protests,’ SABC Digital News, 13 June.

2014: Peter Alexander, Carin Runciman and Trevor Ngwane, Community Protests 2004-2013: Some Research Findings. Media briefing that led to coverage in all South Africas daily newspapers, many weekly papers, and at least 14 interviews on TV and radio. 12 February. See

2013: Peter Alexander, Marikana, turning point in South African history, Review of African Political Economy 40(138). Pages 605-619. DOI: 10.1080/03056244.2013.860893.

2012: Karl von Holdt and Peter Alexander, ‘Collective Violence, Community Protest and Xenophobia’. South African Review of Sociology 43(1). Pages 104-11.

2012: Peter Alexander, ‘A massive rebellion of the poor. Op ed in Mail and Guardian, 13 April, page 34. Also appeared as  ‘Protests and Police Statistics: Some Commentary. Available from: Published 28 March.

2012: Peter Alexander, ‘Barricades, Ballots and Experimentation: Making Sense of the 2011 Local Government Election with a Social Movement Lens,in Marcelle C. Dawson and Luke Sinwell (eds), Contesting Transformation: Popular Resistance in Twenty-First Century South Africa. London: Pluto Press. Pages 63-100.

2010: Peter Alexander, Rebellion of the poor: South Africas service delivery protests a preliminary analysis.Review of African Political Economy37(123). Pages 25-40. Also available at and

2009: Peter Alexander, ‘It’s not Xenophobia.’ Feature article in Sowetan, 29 July.

2009: Luke Sinwell et al, Service Delivery Protests. Johannesburg: Centre for Sociological Research, University of Johannesburg.

Publications available at: