Proceedings of the 2nd Annual Qualitative Methods Conference: "The Body Politic"
3 & 4 September 1996, Johannesburg, South Africa


Martin Terre Blanche & Johan Kruger

These proceedings collect together papers presented at the 2nd Annual South African Qualitative Methods Conference ("The body Politic"). While many of the papers included here are finished products, others should be read as extended abstracts and as works in progress. In cases where no further material has become available, we have reprinted the original abstract. To encourage the continuation of discussions started at the conference, some authors have agreed to provide contextual notes on their papers and to record some of the issues raised by members of the audience. We have also included biographical information and contact details, particularly e-mail addresses, wherever possible.

The proceedings have been divided into six parts so as to group together papers with similar themes. Many papers could no doubt be differently categorised, but we nevertheless trust that the groupings we decided on will help to place papers in context and to give an overview of the main themes raised at the conference. Although organised by staff from the Wits and Unisa psychology departments, the conference was strongly interdisciplinary and each section typically includes contributions from a range of different disciplines, as well as from both South African and overseas authors. In addition we have tried to intersperse work by established scholars with that of students and those without formal academic training. The six sections are:

1. Race, ethnicity and nationality. Papers on scientific, media and aesthetic representations of race, and related topics such as racial mixing and national identity.

2. Gender. Papers problematising gender issues, including papers on issues of motherhood and reproduction.

3. Sexuality. Papers on the representation and experience of gay identity, as well as other marginalised or contested sexual practices such as sado-masochism and paedophilia.

4. Applications and special contexts. A range of papers on the application of qualitative methods in settings such as medicine and therapy, and on the governance of bodies in contexts such as crowds.

5. Bodies of knowledge. Papers on qualitative methods and other bodies of knowledge such as personality theory.

6. Postscript. An evocative and laconic reflection by artist Moshekwa Langa on writing and being written.

We hope that these proceedings will prove useful to people inside and outside academia who are interested in the body and in the politics of knowledge production.

2nd Annual Qualitative Methods Conference: "The Body Politic"
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