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Reinventing the Politics of Cultural Recognition: The Freedom Front and the Demand for a Volkstaat

  • Aletta J. Norval

Abstract

The Freedom Front (FF), the only ‘far right’ party to take part in the 1994 election and achieve parliamentary representation, occupies a politically significant position in contemporary South African politics.2 While for most commentators it is merely an unpleasant relic of the apartheid era, I will argue in this chapter that their discourse raises a series of important questions which stand at the heart of contemporary theoretical and political debate on cultural diversity and recognition, and on the constitutional forms in which they may be exercised.

Keywords

Constitutional Form Local Entanglement Popular Sovereignty Common Consent Cultural Recognition 
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Notes

  1. 4.
    This view is articulated most forcefully in the works of Derrida. While in the context of South African historiographic debates, Posel has articulated a position which may on the face of it sound similar, the fact that she does not question the identitary dimensions of each of the positions severely limits the import of her intervention. D. Posel, ‘Rethinking the “raceclass” debate in South African historiography’, Social Dynamics, vol. 9, no. 1, 1983, pp. 50–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 6_This is the case even in the context of contemporary South Africa where the logic of apartheid has made it difficult to deal with the voicing of culturalist demands. The ANC’s willingness to engage in debate on the issue bears witness to the fact that a certain wider legitimacy is already granted to those demands. Cf. A. Sachs, Protecting Human Rights in a New South Africa, Oxford, 1990; as well as G. Coetzee, ‘Human rights — the start of a new culture’, RSA Review, vol. 8, no. 2, 1995, pp. 31–40.Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    A. Margalit and J. Raz, ‘National self-determination’, Journal of Philosophy, vol. 87, no. 9, 1990, p. 439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 13.
    For a detailed discussion of the historical context in which the far right re-emerged, see J. van Rooyen, Hard Right. The New White Power in South Africa, Resolution: global London, 1994, pp. 117–55Google Scholar
  5. J. van Rooyen, ‘The white right’, in A. Reynolds, Election’ 94 South Africa, Resolution: global London, 1994, pp. 89–106; as well as A. J. Norval, Deconstructing Apartheid Discourse, Verso, 1996, pp. 75–98. The analysis of the discourse of the FF presented in this chapter is based on extensive reading of press releases, papers and documentation of the FF.Google Scholar
  6. 14.
    For a discussion of the content of these principles, see D. Kotze, ‘The new (final) South African constitution’, Journal of Theoretical Politics, vol. 8, no. 2, 1996, pp. 137–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 17.
    M. Freeman, ‘Democracy and dynamite: the peoples’ right to self-determination’, Political Studies, vol. 44, no. 4, 1996, pp. 746–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 20.
    The question of Christian education is a good example of an issue which would fall under the rubric of an ‘Afrikaner lifestyle’. For a discussion, see C. Landman, ‘Die Afrikanervolk in die nuwe Suid-Afrika’, Speech delivered to The Nederlands-Zuid Afrikaanse Vereniging in Utrecht, The Netherlands, 12 February 1996, pp. 7–9Google Scholar
  9. 49.
    Linda Martin Alcoff, ‘Philosophy and racial identity’, Radical Philosophy, no. 75, Jan/Feb 1996, p. 10.Google Scholar
  10. 50.
    J. Solomos and L. Back, Racism and Society, Resolution: global London, 1996, p. 208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Aletta J. Norval 1998

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  • Aletta J. Norval

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