Research Background and Biographical Information
Since joining the University of the Western Cape in 1994, after completing my Bachelors, Honours and Masters degrees at the University of Cape Town and Rhodes University, and shortly thereafter completing my PhD, I have led various research projects within the School of Government through initially the Centre for Southern African Studies, and since 2007, the African Centre for Citizenship and Democracy.
Areas of Research Specialisation
International political economy and development (with a specific focus on feminist and gender perspectives);
Development and Democracy in the Global South in the context of the international political economy. This area of specialization has developed into a current focus, and NIHSS funded project entitled BRICS from Below? A collaborative comparison of modes of interaction in BRICS on sustainable development and social justice. I have also led numerous other projects on citizenship, representation, mobilization and social movements (see cv).
Initially specializing in southern African and African regional development and the global political economy, my PhD research on gender, development and food security in southern Africa has led to an increasing focus on tracking development policies from local to global. My focus is on linking case study work on development to socio-economic rights both conceptually and in relation to critical and policy discourses globally. The relationship between ordinary citizens, especially those most affected by economic inequality, and development policy is the focal point from which debates on democratic development at national and global level have meaning and add understanding to the realities of livelihoods of the poor. Through ACCEDE, I have worked towards creating a research niche on democratising development processes through robust forms of participatory engagement and mobilisation in South and southern Africa, and in comparative perspective (Brazil, India). In South Africa, through the survey and case study based research projects at ACCEDE, I have also developed a specific focus on the role of claiming socio-economic rights through mobilization and participation in public policies that purport to support democratic development.
This research includes a strong action based component of advocacy work with grassroots community organisations, groups, Civil society organisations, non-governmental organisations, social movements and ad hoc forms mobilization from below. This research is linked where possible to relevant local and other government departments. The centrality of gender and gendered inequalities is emphasized in all research on democracy and development.
Pamela Tsolekile de Wet is a researcher at the African Centre for Citizenship and Democracy (ACCEDE), which is in the School of Government at the University of the Western Cape. She has 25 years working experience in government and non-governmental organisations where she did policy formulation and research on sustainable development. She has published on topics relating to governance, democracy and development in journals such as Urban Forum and Politicon as well as in other publications produced by ACCEDE.