Re-thinking Knowledge and Social Change in South Africa

The paper starts from the premise that twenty years after the transition to formal democracy in South Africa, the issue of the production and use of socially relevant knowledge and the role of progressive researchers in contributing to social change warrant renewed attention. The analysis centers on two issues. The first relates to different ways of interpreting the knowledge needs of the current conjuncture. The second concerns the relationship between knowledge, truth and truthfulness in the world of knowledge for policy. The paper argues for greater reflexivity about the current conditions for producing research for social change in a context increasing divided about what constitutes a good society.

The author

Professor Extraordinaire in the Centre for Higher Education Research, Teaching and Learning at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa Mala Singh is a South African who is currently Professor Extraordinaire at Rhodes University, South Africa. She was formerly Professor of International Higher Education Policy in the Centre for Higher Education Research and Information (CHERI) at the Open University, UK. She was the founding Executive Director of the Higher Education Quality Committee of the Council on Higher Education in South Africa. She has a doctorate in philosophy and was formerly professor and head of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Durban-Westville in South Africa (now merged into the Universityof KwaZulu-Natal).
She has published in the fields of philosophy and higher education and quality assurance. She is amember of the Academy of Science as well as the Board of the National Research Foundation in South Africa, and has served on UNESCO committees on higher education and research. She is on the editorial boards of Higher Education Policy and the Journal of Higher Education in Africa. She is a member of the Council of the United Nations University in Tokyo, serves on the Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications and has been a member of the European Register Committee. In 2009 she was a Fulbright Scholar at the New School for Social Research in New York and a Research Fellow at the Steinhardt Institute for Higher Education Policy at New York University.
In 2014 Professor Mala Singh was awarded « The Prize Charles and Monique Morazé », established recently by the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme, Paris, and granted in recognition of theinnovative work on the issues of Science and society on the one hand, Education and society on the other hand.

The text

Charles and Monique Morazé Award Lecture, November 25, 2014.
More information on the Charles and Monique Morazé Lecture :