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The implications of emerging policy discourses in South Africa : a case study of the KwaZulu Natal Land Reform Pilot Programme.

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This study is an exploration of the discourses which ha emerged in the KwaZulu Natal Land Reform Pilot Programme. It aims to identify the implications of these discourses for addressing poverty and inequality and for constructing the relationship between the state and society. It is hypothesized that there are some discourses that are privileged at the expense of others with major social consequences. This hypothesis has been tested through a discourse analysis of the proceedings of the KwaZulu Natal Land Reform Pilot Programme Steering Committee for the period March 1995 to August 1996. This study uncovers three dominant discourses in the KZN LRPP. Firstly, discourses of historical, racial injustice which draw on notions of tradition. Secondly, discourses of 'economic development' which highlight the need for productive, agricultural use of land. Lastly, discourses of participation are used to construct and contest the role and authority of the state as well as that of 'community' spokespersons. I argue that these discourses might have constrained the capacity of the KwaZulu Natal Land Reform Pilot Programme to address poverty and inequality, and that these discourses have constructed relationships between the state and society which privilege elite sectors of rural society at the expense of others. An unintended outcome of this study is that it has allowed me to explore the limits and possibilities of discourse analysis as a research method.


Thesis (M.Soc.Sc.)-University of Natal, Pietermaritzburg, 1999.


Land reform--KwaZulu-Natal., Theses--Sociology.