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Postal Address: Office A716, Shepstone Building, Level 7, Mazisi Kunene, Glenwood, Durban, 4041, South Africa
Telephone: +27 (0)31 260 3195
Fax: +27 (0)31 260 2502

Our objective as the Centre for Civil Society is to advance
socio-economic and environmental justice by developing critical
knowledge about, for and in dialogue with civil society through
teaching, research and publishing. The Centre was established at the
University of KwaZulu-Natal in July 2001, with the mission of promoting
the study of South African civil society as a legitimate, flourishing
area of scholarly activity. A related goal was to develop partnerships
within civil society aimed at capacity-building, knowledge sharing, and
generating reflection and debate. With an excellent start in these
directions, we now also aim to work across the African continent and
internationally. Our three core strategies are: independent critical
scholarship (including provision of research grants); information
dissemination; and teaching/training. Our staff and associates at UKZN’s
Howard College campus are comprised of academics and research officers,
administrators, visiting scholars, and doctoral and masters students.
Our colleagues include more than 250 research grantees, Research
Associates, community liaisons and other collaborators.

1) Scholarship
The Centre serves in part as a research unit housing several major
multi-year programmes. These have their own staff funded mainly from
external resources raised from local and international foundations. In
addition, the Centre’s staff work on their own self-directed research
projects and contribute to the vibrant intellectual life of the Centre
through seminars and organising conferences. There are several thematic
research areas: economic justice, environmental justice, social
movements, globalisation and African integration, social giving and
culture. This research work benefits from the Centre’s commitment to
praxis-based production of knowledge, in which we learn how power
relations are challenged by civil society organisations – in the
streets, the courts, the media, negotiating fora, theatres and cultural
clubs, sportsfields and other sites - thus generating new information
about systems and organisational strengths and weaknesses. We then feed
back research into the society through both arms-length and
participatory analysis, in the forms of books and articles, films and
DVDs, tours and lectures. The Centre has offered resources for grants to
academics, research institutes, independent scholars and civil society
organisations based in South Africa and other African countries. In
addition, when resources are available, the centre offers Doctoral and
Post-Doctoral fellowships to outstanding scholars working on theses
relevant to African civil society.

2) Information dissemination
The Centre runs a popular website which contains over 2000 articles,
documents and images. The Centre also hosts a well-used resource centre
containing more than 800 books, films, journals, popular periodicals and
internet access; runs a weekly film screening project; and regularly
publishes and distributes research reports which are also free to
download from the website. One of the most important dissemination
vehicles is the double DVD set, CCS Wired. The Centre is also active
off-campus, especially in low/middle-income urban communities in
KwaZulu-Natal. The Centre runs an email list-serve with 800 subscribers;
offers an academic seminar series on civil society; sponsors public
interest forums; and hosts the Harold Wolpe Lecture, which attracts an
enthusiastic audience of more than 300 people each month.

3) Teaching and training
Centre staff currently teach masters students in the School of
Development Studies (on civil society and on the political economy of
the welfare state), as well as a masters-accredited course on economic
justice advocacy that travels to various African sites, a course within
the School of International Training’s Durban programme that includes
participation by ten community activists twice a year, and in 2008 a
course with students from the University of Ottawa. CCS also sponsors a
dozen research masters and doctoral students with specialised civil
society dissertations. Centre staff also participate in various other
occasional teaching opportunities, organise regular civil society
workshops, and attend conferences and offer lectures at other
universities and for civil society audiences, locally, regionally and

CCS Pamphlet

 Key Partners
 University of KwaZulu-Natal 
 School of Development Studies 

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