*Electronic Theses and Dissertations (PhDs)

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    Governing Children in Street Situations in Pretoria: Vulnerability and Social Protection in South Africa
    (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022) Matarise, Fungai
    The vulnerability of children in post-Apartheid South Africa has been a major issue in social and development policy debates for decades now. Children are situated within the wider notion of “Vulnerable Groups” that is a central tenet in South African public and development policy discourse. This thesis examines the vulnerability of children in street situations as defined in the Children’s Act no. 38. of 2005. Children in street situations are a distinct category of vulnerable children that has experienced and continues to experience countless privations on the streets across South Africa. The issue of children in street situations raises fundamental questions about the political, economic and social aspects of inequality, marginality, and social exclusion in the post-Apartheid state. Hence, a central question in debates surrounding the interventions of state agencies on children in street situations is to consider how social and public policy articulate in concrete ways the country’s commitment to social inclusion, social justice and the fight against inequalities. Yet, with specific reference to children in street situations, little is known about the legal, material and practical governance of these category of children in South Africa. This study examines the governance of Children in Street Situations in Pretoria– the administrative capital of South Africa. The Department of Social Development (DSD) is the main provider for social interventions in the country, including in Pretoria. This is an exploratory study, based on my field research with informants at the Department of Social Development (DSD) and related organisations working on addressing the issue of Children in Street Situations. The study combines data from face to-face interviews with social workers at the DSD and telephone conversations with non governmental organisations (NGOs) personnel alongside textual analysis of official documents, policy reports and guidelines, legal provisions and media reports. Using discourse analysis and a post structural deconstructive approach, the thesis examines and unpacks the value and limits of vulnerability as a critical and core concept in understanding social protection in South Africa’s public and development policy. The thesis argues that a critical approach to the conceptualisation of vulnerability in South African public and development policy is important because it frames the legal and institutional responses to categories of people perceived to be in need of social protection, including children in street situations. The thesis develops this argument empirically by analyzing and discussing the representations of children in street situations in South Africa along mostly negative perceptions of these children and underlines how these representations are important to the framing and practice of social protection in aw, legislation and social policy. Furthermore, in discussing some of the social interventions for children in street situations and the challenges involved for DSD workers, this study also finds that the social problem of children in street situations is defined by ambiguity: among social workers at the DSD there are divergent views on whether these children exist and pose a policy challenge or not. Against a generic conceptualisation of children as similarly characterized by vulnerability, the thesis suggests that a further disaggregation of children in street situations as children in a specific social situation is necessary to appreciate their special vulnerabilities and needs. This fits a purposive response, more effective and targeted initiatives in care and protection that enhance their capabilities and well-being of children in street situations.
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    Justice as Recognition in the Ecological Community
    (University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2022-06) Francis, Romain
    This thesis postulates that an alternate mode of recognition is required to develop an authentic conception of justice that reconciles the subaltern’s desire for dignity with affording greater love, care, and respect for nature. Extant redistributive and recognitive justice frames within traditional western political theory and philosophy are strictly anthropocentric and restrict nature to a purely utilitarian function in the satisfaction of human needs. This maintains a moral hierarchy between humans and nature that perpetuates ecological injustice. Using decoloniality as both a method and critical analytical framework, this thesis develops and employs the coloniality of nature to illustrate that the continued destruction, exploitation, and disrespect for nature is fundamentally tied to the misrecognition of subaltern people. Misrecognition is a product of a deep-seated sociogenic problem of coloniality introduced during European colonisation, which consolidated the superior status of a hegemonic western subjectivity. Other experiences, knowledges, practices, and ways of articulating human-nature relations were rendered as non-scientific and superstitious and devoid of any value. The misrecognition of subaltern people denied humanity an opportunity to learn from other viewpoints and integrate them into an inclusive idea of justice where no single subjectivity assumes a dominant status. Centered on a decolonial love predicated on Fanon’s idea of “building the world of the You”, not the I, Us or We, this thesis draws on the principles of transculturalism and border thinking to promulgate a practical idea of justice as recognition in the context of an ecological community, that is more inclusive of other living and non-living entities. It advances a dialogical mode of recognition that attempts to achieve the following objectives: i) promote critical introspection amongst the subaltern to understand how their experience of (mis)recognition is connected to the destruction of nature, and how their attitudes towards nature were altered by the introduction of western modernity, capitalism and colonisation, ii) enable those social groups that are on the top of the ontological hierarchy to understand their role in such processes and how to address them, and iii) to demonstrate that increasing humanity’s love, care, and respect for nature is not possible without first addressing misrecognition between people.
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    The use of self-service technologies (interactive screens) in enhancing the shopping experience in selected South African shopping malls: a consumer/shopper perspective
    (2023-07) Uta, Lloyd
    With the South African consumer market continuously evolving, it is imperative for shopping-mall owners to create more innovative shopping ways to satisfy the needs of the 21st century South African consumers. One of the innovative ways is to provide the use of self-service technologies (SSTs), which reportedly provides consumers positive cognitive, affective, and sensory customer experience benefits. Using SSTs in banks, shopping malls, hotels and other business environments have become a trend as customers do not only enjoy fresh and actionable experiences, they also get service quality, efficiency and entertainment that can be better and consistent than the human services. Despite these benefits, emerging markets such as India and South Africa respectively are slow to adopt SSTs, especially in the shopping mall environment. This study integrated relevant elements of technology acceptance model, diffusion of innovation theory, theory of planned behaviour and the flow theory to examine SST site factors (i.e., user interface, aesthetics and authenticity), the technology-related factors (i.e., relative advantage, complexity, perceived ease of use[PEOU], perceived usefulness [PU]) and consumer factors (i.e., subjective norms, perceived behavioural control, enjoyment and concentration) driving attitudes and behavioural intentions to use SSTs at some selected shopping malls in Johannesburg. The mediating roles of PU, PEOU and attitudes were also tested. Based on proximity to the researcher’s resident and malls similarities in size, ranking, and social class (i.e., middle and higher income) and socio-economic profiles of shoppers, the researcher selected three contemporary shopping malls which have been identified as super regional centres. These malls were Mall of Africa, Rosebank and Sandton City malls. Additionally, the malls have installed SSTs like information kiosks or interactive screens. A quantitative research study was conducted with data collected successfully from 260 respondents and analysed using structural equation modelling with Smart PLS. Sobel’s test was used to test mediation. Findings revealed that user-interface and aesthetics and authenticity positively impacted PU and PEOU. The PU and PEOU with relative advantage drove attitudes to adopt SSTs, which with perceived control, subjective norm and enjoyment were positive and significant drivers of behavioural intention to use SSTs. The mediating effects of PU, PEOU and attitudes were significant. Managerially, drivers of shoppers’ attitudes and intentions to adopt SSTS are exposed. Theoretically, the study’s integrated model enriches the explanation of the acceptance of a technology, that is SST, especially in emerging market and multicultural context.