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The Department of Political Science is a dynamic, research-driven unit with a focus on the political challenges which South Africa and the broader African continent must face in a globalising world. Through comprehensive research programmes, the department has developed expertise in a wide spectrum of international, African and domestic politics. Pressing issues such as poverty, development, globalisation and inequality are addressed at the under- and postgraduate levels. The department provides high-level theoretical and analytical training in a variety of subfields of Political Science, with particular focus on political risk analysis, public policy analysis, political behaviour and survey research, foreign policy analysis, global governance, and conflict and peace studies in Africa. Experts from practice and international universities are frequently involved in the presentation of modules.

New collaborative research project with the Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) established


In collaboration with Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO), the Department will be a key partner on a major multi-year research project funded by the Research Council of Norway titled: DISARM: How post-accord disarmament affects peace and conflict dynamics. The project will be in place from 2022-2025 with Dr Guy Lamb being the Department’s lead on the project. DISARM will analyse the conditions under which disarmament can prevent conflict recurrence in post-accord countries. The project will have a strong gender focus and will apply a mixed-method research design. The project intends to collect data on disarmament provisions in all intra-state peace agreements between 1975 and 2020 and examine the relationship between disarmament and conflict recurrence. To identify causal pathways through which disarmament can impact conflict recurrence, the project will also conduct four in-depth qualitative studies on disarmament in Namibia, Mozambique, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Taken together, the findings will allow DISARM to develop a novel set of propositions on disarmament that integrates a gender lens. DISARM constitutes the first systematic global study of post-accord disarmament across space and time, enabling us to identify conditions under which disarmament was and was not able to prevent conflict reoccurrence. A fully funded PhD scholarship will be provided by this project.


Scholarship Opportunity

Sub-Saharan Africa’s liberty deficit: can civil society help fill the gap?



There is something inherent in the idea of democracy that invokes expectations of valuing human dignity and thus freedoms. These include freedom of association, thought, belief, religion and speech, and freedom from government abuse.

Contemporary comparative politics scholars Christian Welzel and Ronald Inglehart argue that: “liberal democracy is a manifestation of human freedom.”



Forthcoming book on Policing by Dr Guy Lamb

For more details see

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 Dr Derica Lambrechts and Dr Ubanesia Adams-Jack host a short course that focuses on policy analysis and political risk analysis. Recently, we were approached by an Africa-focused strategic advisory firm with offices across the continent, to tailor the short course for their staff. The course is presented over the duration of four weeks.




Scarlett Cornelissen is a recipient of the 2021 Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendation. The Commendations are awarded by the Japanese government to individuals and groups with “outstanding achievements in international fields” in acknowledgement of their contribution to international relations. Scarlett received the award for “the promotion of mutual understanding between Japan and the Republic of South Africa.”

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 Dr Guy Lamb was recently quoted in the Washington Post



 Prof Scarlett Cornelissen took part in a Workshop organised by the Italian Institute for International Political Studies in Milan


Pathways to Recovery in Post-Pandemic Asia


The Department in the Media

The looting of businesses, shopping centres and warehouses in South Africa over the past week, particularly in the KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng provinces, has taken place at an unprecedented scale. It has affected both poor and middle-class areas. Private as well as government property has been damaged and destroyed. People have been injured and lives have been lost.


Guy Lamb is a criminologist in the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University. 

A proposed amendment to the Firearms Control Act has some gun owners hot under the collar. But a balanced conversation about the benefits and hazards of gun ownership for all South Africans is required in the absence of conclusive and authoritative studies on whether guns ensure their owners’ safety.


Guy Lamb is a criminologist in the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University. He previously directed the Safety and Violence Initiative at the University of Cape Town.

In order to determine if alcohol plays a role in crime spikes, it needs to be determined where violent crime is concentrated, as well as consider other possible factors that my have contributed to such variations in crime in these precincts, writes Guy Lamb


In July 2020, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele released the quarterly crime statistics for the period 1 April – 30 June 2020 which corresponded with much of the “hard” Covid-19 lockdown phase in South Africa.

The shooting of alleged Durban drug lord Yaganathan “Teddy Mafia” Pillay led to an unimaginably barbaric scene when gangsterism and mob justice collided in a community beset by poverty and drug addiction. The people of Shallcross have been caught in a violent drug turf war that’s claimed seven lives in drive-by shootings in just 13 months. In a community where drug lords are said to enjoy the protection of the community and alleged crooked cops, Carte Blanche explores the driving forces that ended in blood on the streets as police appeared ineffective.

Given government’s slow response to rolling out a Covid vaccine response, it appears that 2021 will be similar to 2020, with police officials having to continue to enforce various forms of lockdown regulations in response to successive waves of heightened Covid-19 infections, writes Guy Lamb.

Lieutenant Colonel Charl Kinnear’s murder has re-emphasised the problem of SAPS corruption, especially in realation to firearms. writes Guy Lamb.

International oil and gas companies face increased political risk because of cyber-attacks and they will need to change the way they approach risk management to minimize the impact of cyber-threats.

The political elite are happy to access power through democratic elections, but are averse to institutional checks once in power.

As Covid-19 continues to reshape our world, including global political and economic dynamics, what tensions and contradictions are likely to appear over the next five to 10 years at the national level in South Africa?

According to the latest Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released by ShanghaiRanking, the Department of Political Science at Stellenbosch University is the top ranked in South Africa.

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