Theme 3

Theme 3: Social transformation through change: Knowledge and social development strategies for society

Chair: Gideon De Wet, University of Zululand, DeWetG@unizulu.ac.za

A key challenge in the scholarship, policy and ‘practice’ of development, in both developed and developing societies, is an overwhelming compartmentalisation of focus. Different societal stakeholders (research institutions, government, business, civil society) remain preoccupied with their own agendas. Serious societal challenges remain unaddressed and/or unresolved due to a lack of collaborative, interactive engagements.

Collaborative research aimed at addressing problems pertaining to gender, sex, sexual orientation, race, xenophobia and security and safety, must be of the kind that interfaces with teaching and learning  as well engagement with the wider community within which research institutions operate. This is because of the complexity and huge institutional presence and impact of these challenges.

Addressing societal transformation thus calls for a new, innovative approach to knowledge production, knowledge sharing and knowledge utilisation.  It also demands the recognition and privileging of different knowledge systems and epistemologies.

Keywords: Knowledge production, knowledge sharing, knowledge utilisation, collaboration, social innovation, social transformation, stakeholders, development, knowledge systems, inequality, gender, identity, societal impact