Following the demise of apartheid in 1994, new higher education policies have placed high expectations on universities to play a pivotal role in the transformation. This study examines the responses of academics, graduate students, senior managers and librarians at three universities to the changes resulting from globalization (neoliberal reforms, growth and new technologies) and democratization (redress and equity) and whether these universities have the research capacity to contribute to social justice in South Africa. .
Case studies were conducted at the universities of Port Elizabeth, Fort Hare and Rhodes. In-depth interviews and surveys were conducted with 108 participants across the disciplines who identified the dominant changes as increased managerialism/ entrepreneurialism, the establishment of representative governance structures and equity policies and a shift from Mode 1 (pure, basic and fundamental research) to Mode 2 (applied, transdisciplinary and transinstitutional) form of research.
Adopting critical postmodern, feminist and decolonising methodologies, I find that the tension between the dual goals of globalization and democratization has made it difficult for universities to pay equal attention to achieving growth and social redress. The effect of the neoliberal policies embedded in modernist assumptions has been to silence the redress intentions of these policies, thereby bringing into jeopardy the transformation of South African higher education. First, managerialism redirects the energies of these institutions away from the democratization project. Second, neoliberal economic reforms place pressures on researchers, reducing their research capacity. Third, the equity emphasis on representativeness and numbers serves the project of modernity instead. Fourth, the neoliberal preoccupation with merit reproduces the hegemony of the dominant group. Fifth, Mode 2 research is not being applied appropriately in research involving communities and indigenous knowledge systems. Sixth, decolonizing methodologies, as well as critical postmodern methodologies, are needed to deconstruct and ‘de-struct’ the modernist and hence colonial and racist apparatuses of these institutions.
Although the three universities evince commitment and hope for the future, their capacity to contribute to growth and redress through research remains constrained by the dissonance between policy intents and implementation. The study makes a number of recommendations for building research capacity that will advance the transformation of these institutions and allow for stronger research partnerships with indigenous communities.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER SEVEN NEOLIBERAL REFORMS AND RESEARCH 170
7.1 INTRODUCTION 170
7.2 RESEARCH CULTURE 171
7.3 MANAGERIALISM/ ENTREPRENEURIALISM 178
7.4 CONCLUSION 183
CHAPTER EIGHT RESEARCH PRODUCTIVITY AND ACCESS TO
SCHOLARLY RESOURCES 185
8.1 INTRODUCTION 186
8.2 ACCESS TO RESEARCH RESOURCES 186
8.2.1 Access to IT 187
8.2.2 Library resources 190
African journals 194
Human resources 195
Interlibrary loan 196
Library orientation and information literacy 198
Creative responses 200
8.2.3 Further research constraints 204
8.3 DISCUSSION 208
8.3.1 Access to IT 208
8.3.2 Library holdings 212
8.4 CONCLUSION 215
CHAPTER NINE NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND KNOWLEDGE DISSEMINATION 218
9.1 INTRODUCTION 218
9.2 RESEARCH PUBLISHING 218
9.3 OPEN ACCESS 224
9.4 PUBLIC DOMAIN OF ACADEMIC KNOWLEDGE 229
9.5 DISCUSSION 233
9.6 CONCLUSION 237
CHAPTER TEN DEMOCRACY, EQUITY AND KNOWLEDGE
10.1 INTRODUCTION 240
10.2 POLICY EXPECTATIONS 241
10.3 DEMOCRATIZATION AND EQUITY 242
10.4 DISCUSSION 257
10.5 CONCLUSION 265
CHAPTER ELEVEN MODE 2 AND “SOCIALLY RELEVANT”
11.1 INTRODUCTION 267
11.2 POLICY INTENTS 269
11.3 RESEARCH PRACTICES – CONDUCTING RELEVANT RESEARCH 271
11.4 MOVING BEYOND MODE 2 – DECOLONISING CURRENT METHODOLOGIES 279
11.5 CONCLUSION – THE UNIVERSITIES’ ROLE 289
CHAPTER TWELVE REFLECTIONS, CONCLUSIONS
AND RECOMMENDATIONS 289
12.1 REFLECTIONS ON EXISTING STUDIES 289
12.2 CONCLUSIONS …………………………………………………………..292
12.3 RECOMMENDATIONS 304
Access to research………………………………………………….304
Mode 2 and indigenous knowledge………………………………..315
APPENDIX A List of Participants Cited 338
APPENDIX B List of Departments 343
APPENDIX C Introductory and Consent 345
APPENDIX D Request for an interview 349
APPENDIX E Interview Schedule 351
APPENDIX F Surveys 354
APPENDIX F1 Questionnaire for Faculty 355
APPENDIX F2 Questionnaire for Librarians 362
APPENDIX F3 Questionnaire for Graduate Students 368
LIST OF FIGURES AND TABLES
Figure 1. Juxtaposing qualitative and quantitative methods 73
Figure 2. Triangulation of sources 75
Table 1. RU student racial profile 126
Table 2. RU staff racial profile 126
Table 3. RU staff female gender profile 127
Table 4. RU staff male gender profile 127
Table 5. Library computers with Internet connections 188
Table 6. Serial holdings by university in print and online, 1997 and 2002 191
Table 7. Advantages and concerns expressed about open access 228
Table 8. Racial and gender profile 244
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The undertaking of a doctoral thesis has been a life-long aspiration for me. I am grateful for the opportunity to finally fulfill this aspiration. This endeavour would not have been possible without the support and guidance of many people whom I wish to gratefully acknowledge.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to all 108 participants in the study for sharing so magnanimously with me their “lived” lives in the academy. Their experiences, perceptions and visions provided me with rich insights that have contributed to my study in invaluable ways. I am grateful too to Bruce Robertson (UPE), John Gillam (Rhodes) and John Hendricks (Fort Hare) for so kindly assisting me with information and in making the arrangements for my visits to these universities.
I honestly believe that I have been blessed with the most exceptional supervision for this study. My supervisors, Bonny Norton and John Willinsky have provided me with unflagging support and guidance. I feel privileged for the considerable time (days) spent with Bonny Norton in Johannesburg planning and structuring this study. She has also been a compassionate friend to me during this time, following the loss of my husband. I am grateful to John Willinsky for introducing me to his field of interest --new technologies, knowledge dissemination and the public domain of knowledge-- from which I developed my thesis topic. I must acknowledge his remarkable turnaround time, sometimes ten minutes, as we worked electronically, chapter by chapter. I am grateful too for the opportunity of having presented my research alongside both supervisors in South Africa. I wish to express my gratitude to my supervisory committee members, Don Fisher and Kogila Adam-Moodley for their valuable advice and guidance. My sincere appreciation goes to the LLED graduate secretary, Anne Eastham, for all her assistance and kindness.
I am grateful to the National Research Foundation of South Africa for funding this study. In particular, I wish to thank Rose Robertson for her kind assistance and encouragement during this period.
It is no exaggeration to claim that this entire project would not have been possible without the support of my extended family. I am deeply indebted to my mother and aunt who have so selflessly supported and encouraged me throughout my life and this study. I am also grateful to my son, Magesh and daughter, Kumarika for supporting and assisting me in various ways in this project and for bearing with me during my intense involvement in this study. I dedicate this dissertation to the memory of my late husband, Advocate Deva Pillay SC, who encouraged me to undertake this study but sadly passed away a month before I commenced the programme.
The demise of the apartheid regime in South Africa in 1994 resulted in the initiation of a new social order founded on one of the most democratic Constitutions in the world. The transformation process was accompanied by a proliferation of new policies in every sector, not least of all higher education. Given the grossly inequitable, ethnicised and racialised system of higher education that had been developed to serve the needs of the apartheid state and economy, the intention of the new government was to bring about an equitable and democratic higher education system that would contribute to social change and the establishment of social justice for all its people.1
The major new higher education policies, such as the Higher Education Act (1997) and the White Paper 3 (1997), impose high expectations on universities to play a pivotal role in the transformation in terms of the dual goals of economic growth (globalization) and social redress (democratization). At the global level, universities may help to position South Africa as a competitive player in the knowledge-based economy through knowledge creation, high skills and innovation whereas at the local level universities may, through their research and community service, contribute towards solving the backlog of social problems arising from the apartheid era, as well as helping to reconfigure the racialised notions of identity and culture that continue to exist.
Although the new policies appear to emphasise the knowledge producing role of South African universities, little research has been conducted on their research capacity and the impact of these new policies on researchers and their contribution to knowledge production. Scholarly debates and analyses of the new policies have centred on the binary effects of marketization and democratization. Previous studies have focused on effective governance, leadership and management; institutional culture; racial attitudes and behaviours. The equity policies and their implementation and effectiveness have been analysed by using the yardstick of access and numbers and the legal terrain for non-compliance. There have been few attempts to interrogate the modernist and liberal constructs of the policies that align themselves so well with neoliberal philosophies, leading to the inherent inability of employment equity to bring about the desired redress and social justice. Although equity has been linked to notions of equality, it has been interpreted mainly as increasing the numbers of previously disadvantaged groups to ensure that the student and staff demographics at these institutions more closely resemble the national demographics of the country (South Africa, 1997a; Cloete et al., 2002, ch.1, 12). Scholars have discussed Mode 2 research and notions of relevance mainly as they pertain to the market and industry.2 There has been no examination of what ‘socially relevant’ research involving partnerships with local indigenous communities might entail.
The purpose of this study has been to examine the responses of academics, graduate students, senior managers/ policy makers and librarians at three South African universities to the forces of globalization (neoliberal economic reforms and new technologies) and democratization (redress and equity), with a particular focus on how the changes resulting from these forces relate to their research programs and knowledge producing processes. The study investigated how these universities are attempting to develop their research capacities, as one very important aspect of their contribution to a new democratic social order in South Africa. As a result of this analysis, I consider and make recommendations about the steps that might be taken to enhance the implementation of the transformation policies at these universities.