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Prof Ruth Hall

Acting Director and Professor



Andries du Toit has a PhD in Comparative Studies from the University of Essex. His training is in political theory and discourse analysis. He has done extensive research on the political economy of structural poverty and racialised inequality in a range of contexts in South Africa. His publications include work on the social relations of labour on commercial fruit and wine farms in the Western Cape, on chronic and structural poverty in the rural and urban Western Cape and in the Eastern Cape, and on the dynamics of marginalised livelihoods and informal social protection in the migrant networks of the Eastern and Western Cape.

At present, his work focuses on developing a critical understanding of post-Apartheid biopolitics in the context of de-agrarianisation and large scale economic marginalisation.  His key interest lies in the implications of entrenched poverty and structural inequality for the forms of governmental deliberation, policy knowledge and political community that are possible in the South African political context.  In general, his concern is to understand the implications of the challenges that are posed for policy discourse and governmental reason by the rising tide of ‘populist’ and anti-liberal discourses that have dominated contentious politics internationally since the global financial crisis.  In the South African context, he is interested in understanding how these dynamics play out in the context of popular mobilisation, political theatrics, and technocratic policy discourse around questions of land and political belonging.

Research Focus

Chronic poverty, inequality and vulnerability


  • PhD in Comparative Studies, University of Essex, 1996: Discourses of paternalism on Western Cape wine and fruit farms. Supervisor: Ernesto Laclau.
  • MA (History),  University of Cape Town, 1991.
  • BA (Hons) University of Stellenbosch, 1986.

Selected Publications