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In more ways than one, this book is an exciting contribution to an understanding of the South African development paradigm.

Joel Netshitenzhe,
Executive Director: Mapungubwe Institute (MISTRA)


This book is a mine for original thinkers. It provides a rich vein of experiences and theoretical reflections on the way state and social actors interact. Anyone interested in development policies should read this forceful call to ‘think more, think harder, think better’.

Professor Nicola Viegi,
SARB Chair in Monetary Economics: University of Pretoria

Book information

ISBN: 978-0-9869968-6-3

Trim size: 230 x 150mm

Binding: paperback

Page count: 160 pages

Cost: R275.00

Genre: Sociology/Politics



All too often, the issues of social development as well as the institutions and practices required to attain this are treated in intellectual discourse as theoretical concepts underpinned by aggregate national and international data. In this challenging sociological work, Leslie Dikeni eschews that: he brings together different case studies on local experiences of the relationship between government and communities. Thus unfold, in this interesting work, many unique lessons for discourse on the generic dynamic of state-citizen-market relations.

Building on the theoretical and methodological foundations of an actor-orientated form of analysis, the author sets out to challenge standard approaches to development practice.


Leslie Dikeni

Leslie Dikeni was a senior researcher at MISTRA in the faculty of Humanities. He has an MSc in Rural Sociology (the University of Wageningen, the Netherlands) and was a doctoral candidate at the ÉcolePratique des HautesÉtudes en Sciences Sociales (School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences). Dikeni is a visiting research fellow at the School of Public and Development Management (University of the Witwatersrand) and a research associate at the University of Pretoria. His research interest is the social construction of knowledge and its dynamics. Dikeni has co-edited with William Gumede The Poverty of Ideas: The Retreat of Intellectuals in New Democracies and is the author of Habitat and Struggle – The Case of the Kruger National Park in South Africa.