Apartheid and post apartheid discourses in school space : a study of Durban schools
In this thesis the transition from one political dispensation to another provides the opportunity for examining spatial practices and political discourses in South African schools. The starting point is the Lefebvrian proposition that space is inscribed with past and present discourses and that new political discourses establish practices that compel the reshaping of space. Six public schools in the South African city of Durban provided the data and context for the study, which focused on apartheid and post-apartheid spatial practices. The objectives were to identify how the social relations of apartheid were learned through spatial relations in schools, how residual traces of apartheid spatial practices remained after the official demise of that political and economic system in the early 1990s, what forms new spatial practices in schools took and what aspects of the new political dispensation these revealed. A range of visual methodologies is used as a means to examine questions concerning spatial relations. Data was collected at six schools (three primary and three secondary) five of which exemplify different administration regimes under apartheid, and one of which opened in the post-apartheid era. Data sources comprised photographic observations recorded during participant observation and some photographs taken by learners from the selected schools. In-depth interviews regarding spatial practices during the apartheid era were conducted with eight adults, including one teacher from each school. Past spatial practices led learners to comprehend apartheid discourse as a nexus of race, class and linguistic hierarchies. Remnants of such spatial practices endure in the conditions at school sites, perpetuating the conjunction of race and class in particular, despite the termination of apartheid education. In the post-apartheid era new spatial practices have emerged that reconfigure social relations within school premises along past hierarchies and in the way that schools work together with other social services. These practices reflect a discursive uncertainty as to whether shared or narrow interests will be the greater force forging political discourse in public schools in the future.