Title page for ETD etd-10182005-115602

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Vandormael, Alain Marc
Email alain.vandormael@up.ac.za
URN etd-10182005-115602
Document Title Civil society and democracy in post-apartheid South Africa : the Treatment Action Campaign, government and the politics of HIV/AIDS
Degree MA (MSocSci: Social Research)
Department Sociology
Advisor Name Title
Prof M Neocosmos
  • political participation
  • neo-liberalism
  • AIDS activism
  • South African government
  • the Treatment Action Campaign
  • politics of HIV/AIDS
  • Thabo Mbeki
  • citizenship
  • democracy
  • civil society
Date 2005-05-10
Availability restricted
Through an analysis of the case of the Treatment Action Campaign’s (TAC) ‘success’ in pressuring the South African government to reform its controversial HIV/AIDS policy, this study will present a discussion of the concept ‘civil society’. The confrontation between the TAC and the government has for the most part been framed within a neo-liberal perspective of state-civil society relations. This perspective tends to define civil society in terms of its structural properties in relation to the state: as a ‘plurality’ of associations, or organisations and social movements which possess the capacity to place demands upon the state; as the ‘non-profit’ or the ‘non-government’ sector, as a ‘watchdog’ of socio-economic or civil rights, as a ‘counter-weight’ to the power of the state, and so on. This study suggests that a neo-liberal perspective provides an inadequate understanding of civil society. It is argued that the term should be understood as a realm of activity in which citizens participate in the public affairs of the state. This understanding – referred to as a popular-democratic perspective – seeks to place an emphasis on the capacity of civil society to enable citizens to substantiate their lives as social and political beings. As a methodological device, the case of the TAC-government confrontation is selected as a means to demonstrate this theoretical argument. While the positive aspects of the TAC’s ‘success’ are discussed, it is also possible to provide a more critical analysis from this perspective. Thus, in a ‘post-TAC society’, where the South African government has ostensibly committed itself to implementing an antiretroviral (ARV) rollout program, it is asked how citizens are to continue participating in the management and treatment of HIV/AIDS. To what extent, then, has the TAC enabled citizens to participate in the day-to-day issues surrounding the disease, and to what extent has it not?
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