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Margaret Archer’s Sociological Concepts: A Critique of the South African Higher Education Policy Framework and its Institutional, National and Global Impact

Daniel Maposa


The present research study is on higher education (HE) policy and legislative framework and is based on the use of Margaret Archer’s sociological concepts of structure, culture and agency in critiquing the South African HE policy framework (key policies) and its impact institutionally, nationally and globally. The links between the South African HE policies and the dominant discourses such as decolonisation and globalisation are explored in the study. The distinctions between some commonly interchangeable and assumed to be synonymous discourses such as Africanisation and decolonisation, internationalisation and globalisation, are also unpacked in this study in relation to Margaret Archer’s sociological concepts in the changing HE context. Critical realism is unpacked in the study. Relevant HE Acts and key policies such as Funding and Language policies in South African HE are examined in the study. An explanation on the origin of some transformation imperatives for HE in South Africa will be provided and their links to current student protests and important discourses of decolonisation and globalisation. The study culminates with an outline of HE institutions in South Africa, institutional background of a historically disadvantaged traditional university (HDTU) together with its vision and key policies. The agential role of the university lecturers and facilitators is outlined in the study as a voice.


Critical Realism; Margaret Archer, Sociological Concepts, Transformation, South African Higher Education

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