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Beyond equality and difference: empowerment of black professional women in post-apartheid South Africa

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dc.contributor.advisor van Deventer, Vasi en McCallum, Carita en 2009-08-25T10:57:20Z 2009-08-25T10:57:20Z 2009-08-25T10:57:20Z 2005-11-30 en
dc.identifier.citation McCallum, Carita (2009) Beyond equality and difference: empowerment of black professional women in post-apartheid South Africa, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <> en
dc.description.abstract South Africa has embarked on a journey of transformation since 1994. The ruling ANC has introduced many policies aimed at achieving equality, known as "black empowerment". The `empowerment' of black women professionals is especially critical in the transformation era. Empowerment is defined as a process, which "involves individuals gaining control of their lives and fulfilling their needs, …as a result of developing the competencies, skills, and abilities necessary to effectively participate in their social and political worlds" (Kreisberg, 1992:19). From this perspective, empowerment is the essential expression of individualism and self-determination since it embodies the belief that the individual has the ability to effect changes and improve their lives. This individually oriented definition presupposes the importance of constructing one's `self' as unitary and independent. The `unitary self' is a support of the logic of the `Same', which entails the exclusion of otherness and difference. In contrast to this approach, the postmodern theory of Julia Kristeva, with its inherent suspicion of doctrines of pure origins and essences, is corrosive of discourses such as `empowerment' that are developed according to the logic of the Same. Kristeva proposes a subject which is always already `in process'. Identity is a constructed process, rather than a fundamental essence. The Oedipal model, extracted from the Kristevan theory of subjectivity, shows how the nine professional women who partook in this study constructed their selves by placing equality and difference in an antithetical relationship. However, a deconstruction of the Oedipal model opens the construct up to its blind spots and, these subjects are shown to base their identities on the splitting off of their feminine capabilities. Instead of being `unitary self', the subjects are subjects-in-process, and they operate both across and within the competing discourses of traditional femininity and masculinity. As a possible alternative to the positivist paradigm of `empowerment', a Kristevan `herethics' is considered. In South Africa, this is exemplified by the `ubuntu' principle, which entails the recognition of our interdependence. Finally, in order to assist these professional women to embrace the alterity within, whilst competing in a constantly changing and intellectually challenging world, life skills coaching which focuses on the often repressed, emotional aspects, is recommended. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (ix, 430 leaves) en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Empowerment en
dc.subject Black professional women en
dc.subject Equality en
dc.subject Difference en
dc.subject Interdependence en
dc.subject Ethics en
dc.subject Ubuntu en
dc.subject the Other en
dc.subject Subjects-in-process en
dc.subject Deconstruction en
dc.subject.ddc 658.3140968
dc.subject.lcsh Employee empowerment -- South Africa en
dc.subject.lcsh Professional employees -- South Africa en
dc.subject.lcsh Blacks -- South Africa en
dc.subject.lcsh Equality -- South Africa en
dc.subject.lcsh Individual differences -- South Africa en
dc.subject.lcsh Other (Philosophy) -- South Africa en
dc.subject.lcsh Deconstruction en
dc.title Beyond equality and difference: empowerment of black professional women in post-apartheid South Africa en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department Psychology en D.Litt et Phil. (Psychology) en

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