To date the Human Economy Project, initiated in 2011, has recruited a large number of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows from around the world. The Project is interdisciplinary, and its current participants have backgrounds in Sociology, History, Anthropology, Development Studies, Economics and Education. The aims of the project are both academic (to build a body of research pertaining to the issue of nurturing and expanding economic democracy, particularly in Africa and the global South) and practical (to communicate these findings accessibly to a wider public in order to support popular movements aimed at achieving economic democracy).
Thus far, the Project’s postdoctoral fellows have published numerous articles (and an edited volume) based on their individual research, and have also contributed to two collective volumes (People, Money and Power in the Economic Crisis and Economy For and Against Democracy) to be published in 2014 as part of the Human Economy Series, to which end the co-directors (Keith Hart and John Sharp) have signed a contract with an international publisher. The Project hosted an international conference on Economy and Democracy at the University of Pretoria from 22 to 24 August 2013. The Human Economy Group was created as part of an international programme designed to bring back human concerns into economic studies. It is presently located at the University of Pretoria in Pretoria, South Africa, and is bringing together researchers from around the world with research experience in diverse disciplines.
Through our case studies, we examine how people insert themselves into economic life. What people practically do has often been obscured, marginalised or repressed by dominant economic ideologies that privilege the market. We are interested in the ways people engage with economy and respond to institutional forms that perpetuate structures of inequality (creating, challenging, or even trying to ignore them). The human economy is conceived of as being made and remade by people themselves, being based on a holistic conception of human needs and with the interests of humanity as a whole in mind.
The Human Economy Conference 2013:
Economy and Democracy
From 22 to 24 August 2013 the University of Pretoria hosted the 2013 conference of the Human Economy programme. The conference was opened on 22 August by a keynote address by Arjun Appadurai, Goddard Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at the New York University on “The coming escape of finance from economy”.
In the following two days members and associates of the Human Economy programme discussed their state of research on “economy and democracy” with international and South African guests.
John Sharp and Keith Hart, co-directors of the Human Economy programme, were proud to be able to welcome Gustaaf Houtman (Royal Anthropological Institute), Francesco Boldizzoni (Unversity of Torino), Horacio Ortiz (Centre for the Sociology of Innovations, Paris), Ward Anseeuw (UP), Andries Bezuidenhout (UP), Patience Kabamba (Marymount Manhattan College), Catherine Alexander (University of Durham), Erik Bähre (University of Leiden), Bill Freund (University of KwaZulu Natal), Vishnu Padayachee (Rhodes University), Lorenzo Fioramonti (UP), Deborah James (London School of Economics), Jane Guyer (John Hopkins University), Gustav Peebles (The New School University), Tim Jenkin (Community Exchange System South Africa), Detlev Krige (UP), Deborah Posel (University of Cape Town), Jackie Dugard (Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa), Ulrike Kistner (UP), Eric Worby (University of Witwatersrand), Thapelo Tselapedi (Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa), Peter Vale (University of Johannesburg), Richard Ballard (University of KwaZulu Natal) and Sharad Chari (University of Witwatersrand), among others.
The Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria notes with concern the recent passing of legislation in Uganda, the Anti-Homosexuality Act, which criminalises non-heterosexual sexualities and relationships, and anyone who “acts as an accomplice or in any way abets homosexuality”.
In some respects, the Department of International Relations and Co-operation is reminiscent of the proverbial "Potemkin village": an elaborate facade but lacking substance, writes UP Political Sciences Extraordinary Professor Gerrit Olivier in Business Day.