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Unisa online - Unisa's flag flew high at the IPSA 22nd World Congress

Prof Dirk Kotze, Department of Political Sciences, Unisa

The Unisa flag flew high at the 22nd World Congress of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) held from 8 to 12 July 2012 in Madrid, Spain. The event was attended by over 3 000 participants in 580 panels addressing the congress under the theme “Reshaping Power, Shifting Boundaries.”

Prof Dirk Kotze from the Department of Political Sciences at Unisa was chosen as part of the 20-member international executive committee. Kotze is also the Secretary of the South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS) which is a national association and one of the 58 institutional members of IPSA. “The only other African associations participating in IPSA are those from Cameroon and Tunisia,” said Prof Kotze.

The international associations of political scientists meet every three years at the IPSA event. Prof Kotze mentioned that the executive is very diverse in its composition and includes political scientists from Japan, Poland, Germany, Canada, Russia, Turkey, Finland, Italy, France, Australia and the USA.

Prof Kotze lamented the fact that IPSA’s presence on the African continent is not very strong and advocated that efforts need to made in order to remedy this. The reason IPSA’s presence is not really felt in Africa, he said, is partly because many African countries do not have national associations of political science. “After 2005, the African Association of Political Science also disappeared.”

He concluded by saying that an interesting by-product of the current global crisis considered at the Congress is that for the first time political scientists in Europe and the USA might be affected by budget cuts in their research funds and they are challenged to justify the social relevance of Political Science. “Ironically, in South Africa, political analysts are often accused of being too prominent and having disproportionate influence in the public debate,” concluded Prof Kotze.

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