Social Theory Short Course: South Africa


The Global Labour University (GLU) at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) in Johannesburg invites particular unions to nominate unionists from their organisation for the Social Theory 2020 short course for trade unionists and labour activists living and working in South Africa. The aim of the course is to help participants develop capacity for critical thinking and to engage analytically about labour and labour-related issues. The thematic focus of Social Theory 2020 is the energy sector. The primary goal is to assist unionists in their critical thinking and ability to analyse the complex world in which their unions and worker organisations operate. The certificate course addresses key debates in political economy, development, democracy, labour (and the various forms of work and workers), as well as systemic alternatives with a dedicated focus on the energy sector. 

On completion of the course, participants should be able to: 

  • Apply conceptual and analytical frameworks in developing union analyses and strategy;
  • Lead relevant discussions, collect information, analyse problems, make judgements based on analysis, and effectively communicate them; and
  • Develop individual capacity and competence in academic reading and analysis.

The course is divided into four themed modules: 

  • Labour, Development and Democracy
  • Global Capitalism and African Political Economy
  • Systemic Alternatives
  • The Sociology of Worker Organisations and Contemporary Challenges Facing Labour

Throughout each of these modules a focus on trade unions and their engagements on each of these themes will be highlighted. In addition, each module will integrate themes of gender, ecology, international solidarity, and trade union strategy. Each theme will highlight the strategic approaches by trade unions.