Research is an integral part of the Department and individual members of staff enjoy national as well as international recognition within their fields. The Department is embedded in an active network of research partnerships and collaboration spanning academic institutions, NGOs and government departments across South Africa, Africa and further afield.

Find out moreResearch Clusters

A major strength of the Department is its commitment to the integration of thinking and practice around Social Theory and Research Methodology in its postgraduate research training.

Since the mid-1990s the Department has had a strong research focus on: community development, poverty and social security (both national and provincial); the agricultural sector in the Western Cape; social science research methods; science and technology studies; and urban, youth and gender studies. It has also conducted applied research in the area of local and regional development.

In recent years new research interests and projects have been added to these established fields, including the social aspects of health, armed forces in society, land reform and the environment and cultural identities.

The following broad clusters reflect the diversity of research interests in the Department. The details of specific research projects will be added to this page in the near future. More information on research can also be found in the staff profiles.

Research clusters

  • Social theory and social science research methodology
  • Anthropology/sociology of development
  • Gender, sexuality and society (including HIV/AIDS)
  • Culture, language and race
  • Religion and identity
  • Land, environment and society
  • The sociology of work
  • Policing, armed forces and society
  • Urbanization, migration and new forms of governance
  • Knowledge, science and technology (including higher education teaching)
  • Anthropology/sociology of health, medicine and the body

Visiting research fellows and post-doctoral students

Arrangements for hosting visiting research fellows and post-doctoral students can be initiated either through individual staff members or the Head of Department and are finalised in discussion with the Department as a whole. The Department welcomes the opportunity to strengthen its current research programmes and networks through such opportunities, subject to the availability of resources.