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SASA 21 Registration Form

Monday 28 June: Plenary Session 1

Plenary Session: 18:00-20:00
Session Administrator: Divane Nzima


Prof Philani Moyo
Fort Hare Institute of Social and Economic Research (FHISER)
University of Fort Hare

 Climate change is one of the defining human development challenges of our time. The discourse on climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience however largely remains rooted in technicist thinking with little regard of its political economy, social inequity and social injustice tentacles. Using ‘rights based’ and ‘consequentialist’ theoretical thinking, I argue that the political and economic reasoning behind global climate mitigation and adaptation accords is the genesis of social and climate injustice. This is typified by the unenforceable ‘common but differentiated responsibility’ in climate actions which, while claiming to embody equity considerations, actually indirectly promotes continued global warming that disproportionately impacts the poor, minorities, women and children in rural areas of Africa. Secondly, I deploy distributive justice and procedural justice arguments as I critique the structural and power relations within the neoliberal and unsustainable climate mitigation and adaptation financing system. I make the point that this is a socially unjust financing order, dominated by powerful neoliberal interests from the biggest emitters in the Global North with little regard about climate justice and the poor’s voices in climate action decision-making processes. Lastly, I conclude with insights that use transformational adaptation to imagine how the structural configuration and the intrinsic power relations in the climate action system can be challenged to create fairer and socially just opportunities for African countries as they transition to low carbon climate resilient development.   


  1. Dr Cornelias Ncube, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Department of Development Studies, Lupane State University, Zimbabwe.
  2. Dr Thapelo Ramalefane, Climate and Development Consultant, Maseru, Lesotho.

Tuesday 29 June: Plenary Session 2

Plenary Session: 16:30-18:30
Session Administrator: Ruben Langenhoven


Dr Mosa Phadi
Department of Sociology
University of the Free State

This year's SASA’s conference will be focusing on who we include and exclude when we do sociology. Is our sociology solely focused on “intellectuals” and academics, or does our sociology speak to ordinary people and relevant societal issues? How can we grow our African sociological vocabulary to address the linguicide of the past and the present? To what extent do we recognize non-Western and non-hegemonic theories as possible perspectives when grappling with societal issues or do we continue to adopt and apply dominant and mostly Western perspectives when addressing social issues? 


  1. Dr Thozama April, Department of History, University of Fort Hare
  2. Dr Bongani Nyoka, Department of Political and International Studies, Rhodes University
  3. Dr Victoria Collis-Buthelezi, Director of Race, Class and Gender, University of Johannesburg

Wednesday 30 June: Plenary Session 3

Plenary Session: 16:15-18:15
Session Administrator: Ruben Langenhoven


Chairperson: Prof Sonwabile Mnwana
Department of Sociology
University of Fort Hare) 

This panel presents a critical investigation of Michael Burawoy’s concept of ‘public sociology’ from a Southern perspective. The idea of public sociology in its global form was inspired by sociological practice in South Africa. When the US sociologist Michael Burawoy visited South Africa in 1990, just as the negotiated transition to democracy was getting underway, he was struck by the social and political engagement of South African sociology, and the vibrant quality of the debates at the annual sociological conference. He subsequently paid several visits to SWOP, a research unit at the University of the Witwatersrand, invited by its director, Eddie Webster, and in 2004 addressed the South African sociological conference on his elaborated concept of ‘public sociology’ which was, he stated, inspired by South African sociology in general and the work of SWOP in particular.  Yet in South Africa the practice he named ‘public sociology’ had been conceptualised as ‘critically engaged sociology’, or critical engagement for short, with significantly different emphases from those attached to ‘public sociology’ by Burawoy. This panel returns to what we may call the birthplace of ‘public sociology’ in order to explore the trajectory of ‘critical engagement’ before and after Burawoy’s visit, comparing this to the trajectory of ‘public sociology’ which was forged in the very different context of US sociology, and from there was widely disseminated during Burawoy’s tenure as president of the International Sociological Association (ISA). South Africa’s tradition of critical engagement is put in conversation with other traditions from the Global South, specifically the cases of Chile and Turkey. The panellists are all contributors to a book which is to be published by Bristol University Press in mid-2022. 


  1. Prof Karl Von Holdt (Society, Work and Politics Institute, University of the Witwatersrand)
  2. Ntokozo Yingwana (African Centre for Migration and Society, University of the Witwatersrand)
  3. Prof Ercument Celik (Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies and Institute for Sociology, University of Freiburg, Germany)
  4. Prof Dasten Julián-Vejar (Instituto de Historia y Ciencias Sociales, Universidad Austral de Chile). 

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