South Africa within Brics: Emerging Society and Sociological Discourse

Monday, July 14, 2014: 12:45 PM
Room: 503
Oral Presentation
Mokong Simon MAPADIMENG , Sociology, North-West University, Johannesburg, South Africa
The formation of the BRICS contingent opened up new political and economic debates and discourses.  The BRICS members are all developing or newly industrialised countries, and they are distinguished by their large, fast-growing economies and significant influence on regional and global affairs. 

In 2010, South Africa was the last country joined the BRICS and currently holds the Chair of the Group.  Against the afore-mentioned background, as well as South Africa’s strategic position in Africa, facets of the social structure as well as critical processes act as key drivers for social change in the country as well as parts of Africa, and simultaneously, provide the platform for rigorous sociological discourse.

Consequently, this paper aims to – in terms of social structure – critically analyse the political, economic, educational and health institutions of South Africa, and the differences and similarities within the broader BRICS contingency.  Macro level issues, for example good governance, democracy and social services, developmental state, economic growth and policies, development programmes and projects, literacy and access to education, crises in the health sector (HIV/Aids, etc.), as well as other issues related to sustainability will be touched on.  Intertwined with the above-mentioned, the normative component of culture, namely values, norms and sanctions will also be part of the picture.

Closely linked to social structure, the following critical processes will in an integrative way be put under the magnifying lens, against the BRICS background: ideological reconciliation, nation-building, economic transition, nationalisation, migration, globalisation and post-globalisation.

In the final instance, the paper will sought to – from the South African perspective – analyse the contingency (BRICS) as a whole and the role of South Africa within it, specifically in terms of participation (e.g. politically, economically, culturally and militarily), autonomy, inter-dependence, and a designated leader role in certain parts of the world.