Is 'another world' really possible? Re-examining counter-hegemonic forces in post-apartheid South Africa

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51 Citations (Scopus)


A wide body of scholarly literature on social movements on an international level emphatically, but uncritically, declares that 'another world is possible'. This paper investigates this trend and its implications for political and academic practice in postapartheid South Africa, where community-based movements have emerged primarily in order to access basic services. In particular, it highlights the pivotal role that the state and poor people's immediate basic needs play in limiting social movements' contribution towards a transformative development agenda. Paying close attention to poor people's struggles and needs, the paper argues that there is a sharp disjuncture between the ideologies manufactured by academics, and the worldviews that the working class and poor possess. It concludes by providing insight into the possibilities for post-apartheid political struggles - praxis - to lead to the formation of class consciousness and to a formidable challenge to neoliberalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-76
Number of pages16
JournalReview of African Political Economy
Issue number127
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • Community politics
  • Ideology
  • Neoliberalism
  • Social movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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