Cape Town, September 19-21 2007
Fragmented societies in the context of both globalization and democratic reforms are under considerable stress. International opening up of markets and increased mobility and communication create many opportunities. Unfortunately, those groups with considerable assets in terms of physical, human and social capital benefit more. These economic elites are thriving but might be minority groups in a fragmented society. Combined with an increase of democratic reforms in fragmented societies, these tendencies may lead to different backlashes for democracy. The conference is about how we can deepen democracy in such contexts and of course more in particular in South Africa, where the issue of closing the income and entitlements gap is of critical importance. Experiences in deepening democracies within fragmented societies will be looked into from a comparative perspective. Deeper insights in policy options aimed at including the most vulnerable social groups in low and middle income countries, such as basic income measures, social funds or other safety nets will stem from these analyses. Through this focus, the conference will provide a forum where practitioners of public administration and scholars can discuss concrete measures to improve service delivery to the poor in Cape Town’s Western Cape province.
Call for Papers:(download pdf here)
As the aim of the conference is to allow different stakeholders to engage in productive discussion, international experts, local scholars, policy-makers and practitioners are welcomed to present their findings. From these presentations, outstanding papers will be included in an edited book, to be published at Palgrave-MacMillan.
Submitted papers should cover at least one of the following themes, preferably with special reference to South Africa and Sub-Sahara Africa.
Comparative approaches to deepening democracy in fragmented societies
Policy-makers in post-conflict or post-transitional societies often have to cope with surviving internal tensions, pressure to refuel their economies and the obligation to ameliorate the lives of formerly disadvantaged social groups. These imperatives seem sometimes difficult to combine, and different development paths attempting at reconciling them have been followed in different contexts. Which lessons can be learned from a comparison between international (best) practices?
Inclusion of vulnerable groups in low and middle income countries
Fragmented societies are often rife with inequalities and characterised by large groups of the population living in absolute or relative poverty. Papers should analyse different policy options pursued to relieve this poverty. Measures seeking to include those previously or currently excluded from social gains can range from the highly debated basic income grant, over social funds, to the free provision of basic services such as water. Debates regarding these measures, analyses of the devising and implementing of suitable policies to answer the needs of deprived groups obviously gain urgency in low and middle income countries, hence our geographical focus.
- Challenges for policy makers, civil servants and scholars concerned with service delivery
The conference has the intention to be an interface between practitioners of public administration and scholars, aiming at the improvement of (now often unsatisfactory) service delivery to the poor in South Africa’s Western Cape province. Public services seem to be a primary means to improve the livelihoods of the poor, thus substantiating the social benefits they can draw from democratisation. Papers should question if this assumption is corroborated by the South African and international experiences, what the obstacles are to a more deepened democracy and what can be done to ensure that services and social benefits reach even the most destitute.
- Location: The conference will take place in Cape Town at the end of september 2007 (Spring). Local host of the conference is the University of the Western Cape, located at Modderdam Road, Bellville 7535 (Cape Town).
- Timetable: Abstracts must be submitted by February 1st 2007 and the full texts by August 1st 2007. Abstracts and papers have to be sent in electronic format to Joris Verschueren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Conferencefees: participants from OECD-countries 100 €; participants from Middle-Income Countries 50 € (incl. South Africa); participants from Low-Income Countries 30 €.
A limited number of scholars from Low-Income Countries of whom the papers have been accepted for presentation at the conference, will be provided funding that covers travel and lodging.
- Organisers: The conference is organised by a team from the "Policy Management, Governance and Poverty Alleviation in the Western Cape" project within the framework of the "Dynamics of Building a Better Society", a long-term cooperation project between VLIR (Flemish Interuniversity Council, Belgium) and the University of the Western Cape. The host of the conference is Chris Tapscott, the UWC project leader, in cooperation with Stefaan Marysse, the Flemish project leader.
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