Prof Jan Coetzee
Position
Research Fellow
Department
Sociology
Address
1B 26A
Sociology
IB 41
UFS
Telephone
051 4012881
Office
Main Building: South Block 26A
Information

Short CV

 

 Jan K Coetzee obtained the MA, BD and DPhil degrees at the University of Pretoria. He became Professor of Sociology at the University of the Free State in July 1979 and accepted an appointment as Professor and Head of the Department of Sociology and Industrial Sociology at Rhodes University in 1987. In 2010 he became Professor Emeritus at Rhodes University and in 2011 he was appointed a Senior Professor at the University of the Free State.

His research interest in the 1980s and 1990s centred on the sociology of developing societies and he edited and co-edited a number of important textbooks in this field (among others Development is for People in 1989, Reconstruction, Development and People in 1996 and Development: Theory, Policy, and Practice in 2001). Since the middle of the 1990s he became more involved in qualitative research and the use of life histories and biographical accounts. His books Plain Tales from Robben Island (2000) and Fallen Walls: Voices from the Cells that Held Mandela and Havel (2002) were widely acclaimed and received the inaugural Vice-Chancellor’s Book Award at Rhodes University in 2002. Other publications dealt with Life on the Margin (a book on the life stories of people living in informal settlements) in 2003 and The Fragmentary Method in Biographical Research in 2005.

In 2012 he launched a new Master’s Degree by thesis in The narrative study of lives. Professor Coetzee is a member of the Board of the Research Network for Qualitative Methods of the European Sociology Association. Apart from his membership of other editorial boards, he became a member of the International Advisory Board for the Sage Handbook of Qualitative Data Analysis (Editor: Uwe Flick) (published by SAGE Publications, London, 2014) and Sage Handbook of Qualitative Data Collection (Editor: Uwe Flick) (published by SAGE Publications, London, 2018).

 

The narrative study of lives

 

Professor Jan K Coetzee established the programme The narrative study of lives to form a platform for strengthening postgraduate training and research in Sociology. For a detailed analysis of the programme, see the article by Jan K Coetzee, Florian Elliker and Asta Rau “Training for advanced research in the narrative study of lives within the context of political and educational transformation: a case study in South Africa”

(http://www.qualitative-research.net/index.php/fqs/article/view/1972/3517).

Few methods of data collection capture context, meaning, experience, subjectivity, the lifeworld, reflexivity and action as effectively as narratives. When people tell coherent and meaningful stories, embedded in a particular context, they reveal to us as researchers insights into our own as well as other people’s experiences. The very essence of life story research (especially in as far as narrative inquiry, life history and oral history are concerned) provides an epistemological key to a wide scope of knowledge of everyday reality, indigenous knowledge, cultural transmission and community engagement.

Traditional documents of life very often did not incorporate the voices of the majority of South Africa’s people. Apartheid suppressed their voices by relegating entire racial groups to the economic and cultural margins of society. Through political exclusion their experiences were hidden from most historical accounts and their views seldom played a role in representations and reconstructions of reality.  In step with new horizons and freedoms, everyday discourses on issues that reflect everyday life as explored by researchers and post graduate students in the programme The narrative study of lives contributes to greater inclusivity, and provides more opportunities for political and cultural participation and self-expression.

The following honorary staff members contribute to the programme:

As Extraordinary Professor: Professor Liz Stanley from the University of Edinburgh.

As Research Fellows: Dr Florian Elliker of the University of St Gallen, Switzerland and Dr Amanda Young-Hauser of New Zealand.

The programme over the years provided an academic home for a list of research outputs.

 

Completed Master’s dissertations in The narrative study of lives

 

Since 2013 eleven candidates graduated with a Master’s degree in The Narrative Study of Lives and a further number of both PhD and Master’s students expect to graduate shortly.

Rafoneke, SM. 2017. Lived experiences of young Black women with disabilities in Lesotho.

Chikonze, N. 2017. Growing old with HIV.

Majali, Z. 2016. The perceptions of femininity among young Black women in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Moletsane, ME. 2016. Between two worlds: everyday life of Basotho labour migrants in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

Kok, M. 2015. Young and upwardly mobile: voices from historically disadvantaged groups.

Gumede, NA. 2015. Mother-daughter communication on intimate relationships: narratives from Mangaung Township (Bloemfontein, South Africa).

Masenya, V. 2015. Women`s narratives of everyday precarity in the Mangaung Township (Bloemfontein, South Africa).

Mbelekani, NY. 2014. Health-seeking practices and decision-making processes of women living in the Mangaung Township (Bloemfontein, South Africa).

Kotze, PC. 2013. Old stories and new chapters: a biographical study of white Afrikaans speaking identity in central South Africa.

Heggenstaller, AK. 2013. Breast cancer and the medical encounter: experiences, perceptions, negotiations and transformations of identity and femininity.

Hellerle, F. 2013. The aging experiences of English speaking older white women in central South Africa.

 

Most recent research publications in The narrative study of lives

Professor Coetzee edited a Special Edition – together with Dr Asta Rau, Director of the CHSD&R at the UFS – for Qualitative Sociology Review Vol. XIII (No. 1), January 2017.

(http://www.qualitativesociologyreview.org/ENG/archive_eng.php)

Most of the articles in this special issue of Qualitative Sociology Review – an accredited and IBSS-rated journal – are co-authored with students in The narrative study of lives – thus achieving one of the objectives of the programme, namely to create a participatory learning/nurturing environment that will lead to deep level, critical grasp of the research process:

  • Coetzee, Jan K. and Rau, Asta. The narrative study of lives: Editorial notes. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):6-9, January 2017.
  • Coetzee, Jan K. and Rau, Asta. Between enslavement and liberation. Narratives of belonging from two farm workers in rural South Africa. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):10-31, January 2017.
  • Kotze, P. Conrad and Coetzee, Jan K. The everyday in a time of transformation: exploring a single South African life-world after 20 years of democracy. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):32-54, January 2017.
  • Kok, Michael, Coetzee, Jan K. and Elliker, Florian. Overcoming the divide: an interpretive exploration of young Black South Africans’ lived experiences of upward mobility in Central South Africa. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):56-73, January 2017.
  • Moletsane, ‘Malilimala, Coetzee, Jan K. and Asta Rau. Being the stranger: experiences of Lesotho migrants. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):74-91, January 2017.
  • Kelly, Melissa, Moletsane, ‘Malilimala and Coetzee, Jan K. Basotho narratives: migrant perspectives on the Lesotho-South Africa border. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):92-110, January 2017.
  • Elliker, Florian, Kotze, P. Conrad and Coetzee, Jan K. Group identity and groupness: student experiences of a university. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):112-134, January 2017.
  • Heggenstaller, Alessandra K., de Wet, Katinka, Coetzee, Jan K. and Elliker, Florian. Experiencing breast cancer: reflections of women attending a private hospital in Bloemfontein, South Africa. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):136-157, January 2017.
  • Majali, Zukiswa, Coetzee, Jan K. and Asta Rau. Everyday hair discourses of African black women. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):158-172, January 2017.
  • Glapka, Ewa and Majali, Zukiswa. Between society and self: the socio-cultural construction of the black female body and beauty in South Africa. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):174-190, January 2017.
  • Masenya, Veronica, de Wet, Katinka and Coetzee, Jan K. Narrating everyday precarity: women’s voices from resource poor areas. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):192-209, January 2017.
  • Mbelekani, N. Yvonne, Young-Hauser, Amanda M. and Coetzee, Jan K. The sangoma or the healthcare centre? Health-seeking practices of women living in the Mangaung Township (Bloemfontein, South Africa). Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):210-227, January 2017.
  • Gumede, Ntombizonke A., Young-Hauser, Amanda M. and Coetzee, Jan K. Mother-daughter communication on intimate relationships in a Mangaung township in South Africa. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):228-244, January 2017.
  • Kotze P. Conrad. On the nature of an integral sociology: an exploration in theory and practice. Qualitative Sociology Review, XIII(1):246-269, January 2017.

 

Some other articles in international journals include:

  • Kotze, P. Conrad; Coetzee, Jan K.; Elliker, Florian & Eberle, Thomas S. “Strangers but for stories: The role of storytelling in the construction of contemporary White Afrikaans-speaking identity in central South Africa”. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 16(1), Art. 20, 2015.
  • Young-Hauser, Amanda M.; Coetzee, Jan K. & Maramnco, Kwakhe. “Eating the sweat from my forehead”: Farm worker narratives in pre- and post-apartheid South Africa in Forum: Qualitative Social Research 16(2), Art. 30, 2015.
  • Coetzee, Jan K. “? Nuwe bedeling, ? ou bewussyn: Die verhale van ? lyfeiene” in LitNet Akademies (Geesteswetenskappe) Vol. 11 (2): 25-8-2014, 2014.
  • Rau, Asta, Radloff, Sarah, Coetzee, Jan K. et al. “Students perceiving risk: A quantitative assessment on three South African university campuses” in African Sociological Review Vol 18 (1): 65-90, 2014.
  • Kotze, Conrad P and Coetzee, Jan K. “Optimizing the epistemological potential of focus groups in research on a contested issue” in Qualitative Sociology Review X(2):30-41, 2014.
  • Elliker, Florian, Coetzee, Jan K. and Kotze, P. Conrad “On the interpretive work of reconstructing discourses and their local contexts” in Forum: Qualitative Social Research 14(3), Art 4, 2013.
  • Coetzee, Jan K., Elliker, Florian and Rau, Asta “Training for advanced research in the narrative study of lives within the context of political transformation: A case study in South Africa” in Forum: Qualitative Social Research 14(2), Art 8, 2013.
  • Coetzee, Jan K. “Narrating memory: weighing up the testimony” in Qualitative Sociology Review VII (3):31-43, 2011.
  • Vice, Amy; Coetzee, Jan K.; Rau, Asta “Narrating student life in a time of risk” in Qualitative Sociology Review VI (3): 81-98, 2010.
  • Coetzee, Jan K and Rau, Asta “Narrating trauma and suffering: towards understanding intersubjectively constituted memory” in Forum: Qualitative Social Research 10(2), Art 14, 2009.

 

Area(s) of Interest

Qualitative sociology - Interpretive theories and constructivist methodology
Narrative study of lives - Biographical research
Sociology of art - Production of culture
 

Courses Presented

SOS 314: Social Theory. The focus in this module is on different sociological paradigms: the classical paradigms, functionalism and systems theory; Marxist and critical paradigms;  phenomenology; post modernism; structurationist paradigms; feminism; globalisation paradigms and the multi-paradigmatic status of sociological theory.

SOS618: Sociological Theory. The focus in this module is on different sociological paradigms: the classical paradigms, functionalism and systems theory; Marxist and critical paradigms; phenomenology; post modernism; structurationist paradigms; feminism; globalisation paradigms and the multi-paradigmatic status of sociological theory. In addition, social theory related to the body, and critical realism are addressed.


FACULTY CONTACT

T: +27 51 401 2240 or humanities@ufs.ac.za

Postgraduate:
Marizanne Cloete: +27 51 401 2592

Undergraduate:
Katlego Mabulana: +27 51 401 2495
Juanita Hlongwane: +27 51 401 3269

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