News & events


Well-being: The interrelationship of ideologies and social policies

18 September 2017
12:30 - 14:00

Poverty and inequality have far-reaching consequences for South Africa’s peoples. Both have long been dominated by material and economic measurements. In contrast, the notion of ‘well-being’, has been more widely conceptualised to include the psychosocial and subjective, although largely focussed on what debilitates rather than on what capacitates. In contrast, a study of the multiple dimensions of well-being offers an opportunity for a new conversation, which turns the lens to structural challenges and collective strategies for well-being. Such a reorientation has the potential to interrogate how well-being changes over time, generation, geography and between communities, and may help to design multi-faceted policies and interventions that eradicate poverty and lessen inequality. You are cordially invited to join us as we seek to deepen this conversation through a series of three exploratory well-being seminars over the coming months (30 Aug, 18 Sep & 10 Oct 2017).

The presentation is available for download below:

Date: 18 September 2017 

Time:  12h30 – 14h00 

Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town

Speakers: Dr Adam Cooper (Human and Social Development); Dr Angelina Wilson (Education and Skills Development); and Dr Steven Masvaure (Economic and Performance Development).

Chaired by Prof Sharlene Swartz with brief responses from Prof Charles Hongoro (Population Health, Health Systems and Innovation), Dr Andrea Juan (Education and Skills Development) and a written response from Dr Angelique Wildschut (Education and Skills Development).

Ideology is not always made explicit in policy-making. Policies that appear to have radical redistributive potential and healthy developmental intentions may be underpinned by logics that only become apparent as consequences of these policies unfold over time. In this seminar we ask how social policies that affect the well-being of people are shaped by ideological forces. Using a historical and comparative approach, and comparing geographical contexts such as Asia and Africa, this seminar offers an analysis of the relationships between policies, their ideological underpinnings and how they intersect with political, economic and social forces, with different outcomes. The comparative analysis shows that social policies – their form, content and ultimately their impact – cannot be separated from the economic and political circumstances that accompany their genesis and beside which they evolve. It also suggests that there are specific ideologies attached to using social policy as a retroactive step to solve economic shortcomings, without offering visions of social ideals worth striving for on their own terms, or imagining how social policies may be used for redistribution, social cohesion and nation building.

Seminars will be available online via the Vidyo platform and can be accessed at

Cape Town : HSRC, 116-118 Merchant House, Buitengracht Street, Cape Town. Contact: Carmen August ,Tel (021) 4668004, Fax (021) 461 0299 or e-mail:
Durban :  The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea, 4001 , Contact: Ridhwaan Khan, Tel (031) 242 5400, cell: 083 788 2786 or email: , or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail
Pretoria : HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Arlene Grossberg, Tel: (012) 302 2811 or e-mail:

The HSRC seminar series is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). The views and opinions expressed therein  as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of DST.