The social practice of psychology and the social sciences in a liberal democratic society: An analysis of employment trends

  • M. Wilson
  • L. Richter
  • K. Durrheim
  • N. Surendorf
  • L. Asafo-Agei


This paper explores the relevance of psychology and the social and human sciences in a changing South Africa. The new South Africa embraces a liberal democratic approach to government. The Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) is a policy document that articulates the goals of this liberal democratic society and the transformative approach to be followed to achieve it. The RDP policy document advocates massive social change and the steps that have been taken to implement the goals of the policy need to be assessed. In this paper, this has been analysed at the level of employment practices. Employment advertisements for social and human science graduates, in three national weekly newspapers, from 1976 to 1996, were investigated. The results are interpreted within a framework based on the ideas of Nickolas Rose about the role played by the discipline of psychology in a liberal democratic society.

Journal of Social Development in Africa Vol 15 No 2 2000, pp. 115-136

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eISSN: 1012-1080