This document reports on the findings of the first phase of the social movements and poverty project in South Africa. Movements are interpreted to be grievance-based, and are considered to be imprecise groupings of agencies, activities and ideas around problems and/or solutions. The larger project of which this phase is a part analyses the contribution of social movements to poverty reduction. This first mapping phase will be followed by in-depth study of selected movements and themes.
Following an introduction and a short description of the methodology used in this Phase of the study, Section Three sketches the evolution of South African political economy so as to contextualise the description of movement organizations and social movements that follows in Section Four. Section Three is divided into five sub-sections which consider historical economic development, constitutional processes, recent trends in poverty and inequality, the historical activities of movements and their organizations, and media representations of social movements. The discussion in Section Four identifies key areas of movement activities as well as constellations of interests among movements. The conclusion explores the primary focus on collective consumption (land, housing, services) and considers the extent to which this has been movement actions and approaches have been influenced by the position taken by the state and associated provision.
Social movements and poverty reduction in South Africa