Peter Alexander

Peter Alexander
University of Johannesburg | uj · Centre for Social Change

BA Hons. (London) Doctor of Philosophy (London)

About

62
Publications
30,952
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1,269
Citations
Introduction
Peter Alexander is the South African Research Chair in Social Change at the University of Johannesburg. Their research is mainly on social movements and comparative labour history. Peter Alexander has also published under the name Kate Alexander.
Additional affiliations
January 2010 - present
University of Johannesburg
Position
  • South African Research Chair in Social Change
Description
  • Was awarded the Chair in 2010 and secured a second appointment covering 2015-19. In 2016 my responsibilities were extended to include Director: Centre for Social Change.
January 2000 - December 2009
University of Johannesburg
Position
  • Managing Director
Description
  • Established the Centre for Sociological Research in 2000 and appointed as its first director. Held the position until becoming the South African Research Chair in Social Change in 2010.

Publications

Publications (62)
Book
Full-text available
The first full account of the Marikana Massacre, 2012. It includes workers’ testimonies (gathered immediately after the event), context, conclusions (including culpability), maps, and names of those who died. This is the 2013 revised version of the original edition, published in 2012, also by Jacana Media. The 2013 edition was used as the basis of...
Book
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‘An exemplary study of social class and it ramifications for the lives of people ... It should be read ... by anyone interested in the problem of class in the contemporary world’ (Erik Olin Wright, Vilas Distinguished Professor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, President of the American Sociological Association).
Chapter
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English draft of ‘Skizze zum historischen Hintergrund von Marikana’, published as an additional chapter in the German-language version of Marikana: A View from the Mountain and a Case to Answer (2013).
Chapter
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This is the English draft of a chapter published as ‘Marikana ein Jahr danach – ein Wendepunkt und anhaltende Ungerechtigkeit, in the German-language edition of Marikana: A View from the Mountain and a Case to Answer.
Article
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This article reports on the frequency and turmoil of South Africa’s community protests from 2005 to 2017, which, taken together, have been called a ‘rebellion’. It defines ‘community protest’ as protests in which collective demands are raised by a geographically defined and identified ‘community’ that frames its demands in support/and or defence of...
Article
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This article focuses on providing new insights into the nature of public opinion about protest action in South Africa. Since the mid-2000s the country has experienced one of the world’s highest levels of popular protest and strike action, combined with the recent resurgence of an active student protest movement. Sociological research into these pro...
Research
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The Guardian, 7 September 2015
Article
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South Africa’s Incident Registration Information System (IRIS) is a comprehensive, computerised database maintained by the South African Police Service (SAPS). In principle, it records all public order policing activity including all crowd incidents. While IRIS data is, potentially, a unique source for protest event analysis, considerable care is r...
Article
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The Marikana Commission of Inquiry was established following the killing of 34 Lonmin strikers by South African police on 16 August 2012. This article provides a substantive review of the Commission’s Report, released in June 2015. It highlights the Commission’s assessment that a decision made by top generals the evening before the massacre was ‘th...
Research
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Presents analysis of protests derived from 156,230 crowd incidents recorded by the South African Police Service (SAPS) on its Incident Registration Information System (IRIS) between 1997 and 2013. Includes conceptualisation of 'protest', frequencies by year, distribution by province, prevalence by focus (labour, community etc.), division between or...
Article
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Although there were no city-centre protests of the kind seen in Cairo, in 2012, using protests per capita as a measure, South Africa was possibly the ‘protest capital of the world’.
Presentation
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Self-published, 19 pages
Article
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Schlüsselwörter: Piketty, Marikana, Massaker, African National Congress, Lonmin, Bergleute, Streik, Südafrika ----- Thomas Piketty and the Marikana Massacre. Abstract Thomas Piketty opens his bestselling Capital in the Twenty-first Century with the spectre of South Africa’s 2012 Marikana Massacre. He uses the example to illustrate the awful realiti...
Conference Paper
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Article
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Nous reproduisons ici avec l'aimable autorisation des éditions Jacana, un extrait du chapitre 2 du livre Marikana. A view from the mountain and a case to answer, publié en 2012, quelques mois seulement après le massacre perpétré par la police sud-africaine à l'encontre des mineurs en grève de la mine de platine de Marikana, grâce au travail d'enquê...
Article
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South Africa's Suspended Revolution: Hopes and Prospects by AdamHabibAthens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2013. Pp. 304. £16·50 (pbk) - Volume 52 Issue 2 - PETER ALEXANDER
Article
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Since 2004, South Africa has experienced thousands of local protests, many of them popular insurrections, which, taken together, represent a rebellion of the poor. Lack of service delivery has been the main issue, but protesting communities have also demanded the removal of corrupt officials, re-demarcation of political boundaries and employment. I...
Article
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Equating a 'turning point' with what William Sewell terms an 'event', it is argued that Marikana is a turning point in South African history. The massacre was a rupture that led to a sequence of further occurrences, notably a massive wave of strikes, which are changing structures that shape people's lives. We have not yet reached the end of this ch...
Article
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The downloaded version omits tables. For these see 'Protests and Police Violence: Some Commentary', available on ResearchGate.
Article
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Also appeared as 'A massive rebellion of the poor' in Mail & Guardian, 13 April, p. 34.
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Article
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The article introduces a special issue on comprehending class. It does so by situating five articles – one on each of Brazil, India, China and two on South Africa – within the context of a reflection on key sociological texts published over the past ten years, specifically in the USA and the UK. The debate between the ‘occupation-aggregate’ approac...
Article
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Since 2004, South Africa has experienced a movement of local protests amounting to a rebellion of the poor. This has been widespread and intense, reaching insurrectionary proportions in some cases. On the surface, the protests have been about service delivery and against uncaring, self-serving, and corrupt leaders of municipalities. A key feature h...
Article
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In introducing this special issue, a justification is offered for this South African journal providing valuable space to showcase Indian sociology. This is part of a broader process of creating possibilities for challenging the sociological theory that emanates from just a few wealthy countries yet dominates the way we understand the world. Indio i...
Article
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In the first half of the twentieth century, South Africa's two main coal-producing provinces, Natal and the Transvaal, were regarded as having separate industries. Comparing the two, the article shows that their geology, markets, ownership and organization were distinctive. In contrast, the patterns of labour struggles were alike, reflecting labour...
Article
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TRANSFORMATION 63 (2007) ISSN 0258-7696 109 Debate History, internationalism and intellectuals: the case of Harold Wolpe1 Peter Alexander I thought that something biographical might make this lecture more accessible. An obvious choice would then have been South Africa’s most famous sociologist, its first professor of sociology, but that was none ot...
Article
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Research, with a capital ‘R’, is a subject of considerable concern within South African ruling circles. There's not enough of it. and it's not the right kind, or so the argument runs. Recognising the importance of the material conditions of the researchers and the need for a bottom-up approach to developing research priorities, this paper focuses o...
Article
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Editor's note: The following article is the final section of a ‘thought paper’ entitled ‘Contexts, comparison and critical research’ prepared for the National Research Foundation (NRF), the main state-funded agency supporting academic research in the natural and social sciences. It is included here as part of our ongoing debate on how to strengthen...
Article
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This article makes and defends the claim that China's contemporary household registration system can reasonably be described as a quasi-apartheid pass system. The historical and ideological underpinnings of the two systems vary greatly, and the racial core of the South African system, lacking in China, led to its eventual demise. Nevertheless, the...
Article
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Focusing on two major coal‐industry strikes, one in Alabama (1920–1921) and one in the Transvaal (1922), this article seeks to understand why the former was biracial and the latter only involved white employees. The contrast is interesting because of its wider significance within the US and South Africa, and because of resemblances between the two...
Article
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It is argued that, in the period under consideration, 1925–49, black colliers employed in the Transvaal and Orange Free State coal industry were probably the most militant workers in South Africa. Specifically, it is shown that between 1939 and 1948, a decade for which we have comprehensive and reasonably reliable data, this industry, referred to h...
Article
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The sluggish response to HIV/AIDS by the South African government was mirrored by the initial reaction of the country's higher education institutions. However, from late 1999, there was a significant shifi in attitudes, and this appears to have been related to an intervention by the Minister of Education. Through an analysis of policy documents and...
Article
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This article provides a detailed description of the methodology used in a 2001 study that investigated HIV/AIDS amongst students at RAU. The account indicates that not only was our research design sound, but our method of linking an objective test of HIV status to a questionnaire was both a novel and an effective approach to HIV/AIDS research. The...
Article
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This introduction aims, firstly, to provide an intellectual context for this special issue, and, secondly, to provide a foundation for some thoughts about further research on sociological aspects of HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Articles that appeared in five other special collections on AIDS, all published by local journals, are reviewed. In addition,...
Article
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Shula Marks argued that, by the early twentieth century, a working-class consciousness had developed among African migrants employed in the main mining areas of South Africa. Evidence from Witbank, the country's premier coal district, lends support for this proposition, and suggests we should qualify recent contentions that migrants 'exhibited a di...
Article
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For the first time since Zimbabwe gained its independence in 1980, the country's president, Robert Mugabe, faces serious opposition. In the elections, held in June, the worker‐backed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won 57 out of 120 elected seats, with Mugabe's party, the Zimbabwe African National Union — Patriotic Front (ZANU‐PF) securing 62...
Chapter
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By imposing similar priorities on each of the belligerents, wars provide a valuable setting for cross-national comparison. Despite this, none of the fine comparative studies of the US and South Africa considered the period 1939–45 in any detail.’ In addressing this weakness, an attempt will be made to justify two related conclusions. First, in the...
Article
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This article focuses on the wartime experience of engineering craft unions, which, it is suggested, has relevance for current debates about social contracts and corporatism in South Africa's transition to democracy. It is argued that, whilst wartime collaboration brought considerable benefits, it also had important disadvantages, notably a wage fre...

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