Article from ROAPE Volume 34 Number 111
Changing Concepts of Articulation: Political Stakes in SA Today

Changing Concepts of Articulation: Political Stakes in South Africa Today
Vol.34 No.111 (March 2007), pp85-101
Intense struggles are currently underway within and between the African National Congress and its Alliance partners. In an effort to make sense of these struggles, this essay revisits earlier South African debates over race, class, and the national democratic revolution. Its focus is on multiple and changing concepts of articulation and their political stakes. The first part of the essay traces important shifts in the concept in Harold Wolpe's work, relating these shifts to struggles and conditions at the time, as well as to conceptual developments by Stuart Hall in a broader debate with Laclau's work on populism, and with Laclau and Mouffe who take the concept in a problematic post-marxist direction. I then put a specifically Gramscian concept of articulation to work to explore how the ruling bloc in the ANC has articulated shared meanings and memories of struggles for national liberation to its hegemonic project - and how a popular sense of betrayal is playing into support for Jacob Zuma.