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From Comrades to Citizens

The South African Civics Movement and the Transition to Democracy

From Comrades to Citizens by Glenn Adler
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In the 1980s South Africa's urban townships exploded into insurrection led by youth and residents' organizations that collectively became known as the 'civics movement'. The apartheid government never recovered. Ironically this movement has found great difficulty finding a place for itself in the post-apartheid order it helped create. The high levels of participation by township residents - which civics' very form demanded - was era-bound. The civics relied on the drama of the times and the presence of an enemy, and have been unable to adapt to the role of a voluntary association in a liberal polity.

This volume charts the rise and fall of the movement in the transition to, and consolidation of, a democracy in South Africa. Among the issues addressed are: If the organizations which brought down an authoritarian regime are unable to survive the transition, what forms of associational life can replace them? Are these appropriate or inimical to the healthy life of a new democracy?

The volume brings together many leading writers in the field and helps the reader to gain a greater understanding of this important part of South African history and politics.
Palgrave Macmillan; March 2000
272 pages; ISBN 9780230596207
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Title: From Comrades to Citizens
Author: Glenn Adler; Jonny Steinberg