UNDERSTANDING THE CULTURAL/
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL WORLS
STUDY GUIDE FOR
WVSS 221 VEC
SCHOOL OF BASIC SCIENCES
VAAL TRIANGLE CAMPUS
Study guide compiled by:
Prof PJJS Potgieter
Prof JL van der Walt
Prof FJ Potgieter
Assisted by a team of teaching experts
#Page layout by Elsabé Botha, graphikos.
Printing arrangements and distribution by Department Logistics (Distribution Centre).
Printed by The Platinum Press (018) 299 4226.
Copyright 2011 edition. Date of revision 2011.
North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without written permission from the publisher.
Module information 4
Welcome to the module! 4
Contact persons 4
Study matter 5
How to use this interactive study guide 5
Action verbs 7
What is meant by certain concepts / terms used in this study guide? 11
Assessment and evaluation in this module 12
module plan 13
work schedule 13
Learning outcomes 14
Assessment criteria 14
Study icons 15
Warning against plagiarism 15
1World views and ideologies 17
2Globalisation: The world in which we live, its challenges and dangers 26
3Learning opportunity 1.1 26
4learning opportunity 1.2 30
5Learning opportunity 1.3 33
6Learning opportunity 1.4 43
7The ecological crisis our environment: How safe are we? 55
8Learning opportunity 3.1 55
9Learning opportunity 3.2 56
10Learning opportunity 3.3 56
11Learning opportunity 3.4 59
12Learning opportunity 3.5 60
13Learning opportunity 3.6 63
14Are my rights being violated? What are my responsibilities as a citizen of this country? 67
15Learning opportunity 4.1 67
16Learning opportunity 4.2 68
17Learning opportunity 4.3 70
18Learning opportunity 4.4 71
19Learning opportunity 4.5 73
20Learning opportunity 4.6 75
21Learning opportunity 4.7 75
22Learning opportunity 4.8 77
23Reconciliation in a divided society 79
24Learning opportunity 5.1 79
25Learning opportunity 5.2 80
26Learning opportunity 5.3 85
27Learning opportunity 5.4 87
28Application of the scientific method: Global warming 91
29Learning opportunity 6.1 91
30Learning opportunity 6.2 93
31learning opportunity 6.3 96
32Learning opportunity 6.4 101
33Learning opportunity 6.5 103
34Learning opportunity 6.6 105
Module code: WVCS 221 / WVSS 221
Time allocation: This module comprises 12 credit points and thus requires 120 hours of study.
Welcome to the module!
We trust that you will enjoy your studies, especially in view of the fact that the module is focused on helping you know and understand the world that you are living in (your life world), and on helping you make sense of that world, which can be perplexing at times.
You may contact any of the following persons with regard to this module:
Title and surname
Building and office number
Telephone number and E-mail address
Dr. Mark Rathbone
For the purposes of this module we accept that you:
are being trained to become more and more proficient in the languages of instruction that apply for this module at the North-West University;
are being equipped with sufficient adequate and relevant knowledge and skills with regard to your future occupation;
have relevant knowledge and practical experience of the South African social, cultural and political landscape,
and possess the required study-skills.
Although not compulsory for the successful completion of this module, we strongly recommend that you have access to a computer with internet and e-mail facilities for the full duration of the module. Due to a variety of reasons personal visits to and telephonic contact with your lecturers are not always possible or viable. However, it is a proven fact that regular internet and e-mail contact with your lecturers will drastically reduce the occurrence of any misunderstanding and problems regarding your studies and could even eliminate them completely. Internet- and e-mail contact with your lecturers will significantly reduce the reaction time (i.e. the average period of time from the moment you forward your enquiry / problem to your lecturer, to the moment you receive an official response).
Lastly: most thought triggers and dialogue box assignments require frequent reference to and purposeful utilisation of the reading material provided in this study guide itself. However, you will occasionally need guaranteed and regular access to the Ferdinand Postma Library (FPL) on the Potchefstroom Campus, be it via the internet, or through regular personal visits to the FPL.
Since this module has been academically pegged at NQF1 level 6, and consequently focuses on obtaining higher-order competencies such as academic professional leadership, critical, independent thinking, analysis, synthesis and evaluation, the primary objective of the course is NOT to be an 'information session' (or series of information sessions). This should be very clear from the outset. The rationale for the theoretical conceptual approach that we follow for this module, is that we regard you, the future academic and professional worker, above all as an intellectually reforming 'agent of change', who should never attempt to isolate your academic insights in an 'ivory tower', but who should rather connect them to the wider problems of life and existence in South Africa and the wide world in general. We believe that as students you should avail yourselves of opportunities to constantly ask serious questions on WHAT you are learning, WHY you should learn it, HOW you should be learning it and what the greater PURPOSE is to which you should strive in your own future livelihoods with all of their possibilities.
In this module we will therefore deliberately not be 'prescriptive'. Our objective is NOT to prescribe to you what you should learn, or even how you should learn it. Our objective is to awaken the true student inside you and to accompany you to the point where you can reflect autonomously on your life world. In this module we therefore endeavour to highlight continuously the vital importance of critical reflection. For us it is especially about an in-depth search for the essence of important life world problems and how they could best be addressed by and through critical reflection.
You will find most of the study materials in this study guide itself. The study guide takes the form of a workbook with a variety of dialogue boxes and other questions in which you can actively interact. You will, however, be occasionally requested to consult other sources, and to augment what you learn in class with other study materials.
How to use this interactive study guide
Let us explain the teaching method that we use in this module. The method consists of several elements:
1. This study guide, which is an interactive document put together with the aim of guiding you step by step through the module. The dialogue boxes enable you to interact with the class and with your tutors. (Incidentally, if you should make use of an ‘old’ study guide in which another student, say one from last year, has already filled in all the dialogue boxes, you will find yourself in a predicament. You might find yourself in a situation where you will have to defend this other person’s views – unless, of course, you do your own investigations and analyses pertinent to each dialogue box. It would therefore be prudent to take cognizance of the previous student’s opinions, but to develop your own views about things!) Also use the dialogue boxes for writing notes relevant to your personal life and situation, and to studies in your discipline.
2. The study guide as well as your teaching team will occasionally refer to other study materials such as those available on eFundi, on the internet, and in the study guide itself.
3. The teaching team will make use of the contact sessions for providing brief explanations, for assessing your progress, for practical applications of what you have been studying, for referring to learning materials and so on.
4. The various teaching materials work in concentric circles. This study guide forms the innermost circle; it is the basic document for this module. The teaching team supports and guides you through the module; that is the second circle. The other learning materials form the outermost circle. It is important for you to integrate all the learning materials provided in terms of each one of these circles.
In order to achieve the learning outcome (provided later in this introductory section) of this module you need relevant information. You may refer to three main sources of information:
your own existing experiences and corpus of knowledge about the problems under discussion
this Study Guide
reading materials provided in the Study Guide,
and other source materials that you will be referred to.
You must not only gather information, but also use it to become interactively involved in constructive activities to solve specific problematic situations with which you will be faced. In order to do so, you have to take part in various types of individual and / or co-operative activities (class discussions and exercises). This includes such activities as reading, reflecting, problem-solving, summarising ideas, preparing for and attending contact sessions, discussing ideas and possible problems with others (class and group discussions), as well as preparing assignments for assessment purposes. In the text you will find tasks, questions and comments aimed at encouraging you to be able to react 'off the cuff'. It is specifically meant to guide you to make sense of the theoretical and reflective nature and contents of this module. It will enable you to learn with understanding and achieve the set outcome. The cost of this journey to your desired destination of success is constructive, purposeful, cumulative and self-regulatory studying.
It is recommended that you discuss your ideas on and the outcomes of your activities, as well as your answers to the included thought triggers with your colleagues, and also with your teaching team. Remember: working together to find solutions is better than getting stuck and staying stuck. Also remember to adjust and change your notes as and when necessary (for example, when you gain new insight which may cause you to rethink certain issues...)
Above all, you should be prepared to take full responsibility for your own learning process. Do not shy away from asking for assistance when needed. The key is: (a) purposeful consultation, (b) mutual support and (c) focused co-operation.
In order to assist you, topics or themes are often presented in a series of questions or in the dialogue boxes as interactive thought triggers, e.g. problems that have to be solved. In solving such problems the flow of events almost always follow a classical pattern consisting of the following steps:
Understand the question.
Do your best to find out exactly what IS the phenomenon ('thing') that you are confronted with.
Gather adequate relevant information from the available sources that may help to solve the problem. Start with a short review of the relevant study matter before digging deeper.
Plan one or more strategies to solve the problem.
Adopt and customise the strategy (strategies) to help you solve the problem.
Evaluate the outcomes of each strategy.
Reflect on the process followed to solve the problem.
Take action / write a report, etc./ respond to the questions in a dialogue box
The following list serves as an indication of what to do when certain verbs are used to indicate activities. For your convenience an example is given of each one to illustrate its use. These action verbs are also used in the wording of the thought triggers and assignments which apply in this Study Guide.
Report on the characteristics or nature of something, or how it works.
EXAMPLE: Describe the functions of an environmental manager.
Discuss / Distinguish
Comment on something in your own words. This often requires debating two different viewpoints or two different possibilities.
EXAMPLE: Discuss the differences between theory and models. / Distinguish between theory and models.
Criticise, judge and / or interpret while discussing something.
EXAMPLE: Provide a critical discussion of the position defended by the author in this quotation.
Give an accurate meaning of a concept.
EXAMPLE: Define HIV/AIDS.
Include examples and discuss them to prove that you understand how a process works or how a concept is applied in real-life situations.
EXAMPLE: Demonstrate how you would go about implementing a certain programme in your particular subject field.
Determine the value or merit of something, or pass judgement on something.
EXAMPLE: Evaluate the ... view of environmental abuse from a ... perspective.
The word 'assessment' originates from the Latin verb assidere, which means: (a) to help along, (b) to sit very closely to … and (c) to watch closely. The aim is to be accountable or answerable for something. Gather information in order to make sensible decisions based on that information, to assist individual learners with regard to their own learning.
EXAMPLE: Assess the situation with respect to xenophobia and discrimination in South Africa during 2008.
Give an overview
Emphasise the main features, structures or general principles of a theme or idea, without the finer detail, but with somewhat more detail than in the case of 'name', 'list' or 'state'.
EXAMPLE: Give an overview of the main features of a liberal view of life and of the human being.
Give an example
Provide a practical illustration of a concept or process.
EXAMPLE: Give an example of the implementation of a programme against discrimination in South African schools.
Give the essential characteristics or aspects of a phenomenon.
EXAMPLE: Identify the characteristics of a conservative approach to the problem of discrimination.
Draw a diagram or sketch of a representation of something, or give an example to explain it.
EXAMPLE: Explain the historic origin of the concept 'Socratic dialogue' and illustrate the timeless applicability of such a dialogue in dealing with a problem.
Indicate whether you agree or disagree with a certain statement or view by judging it and interpreting it from a specific framework / paradigm.
EXAMPLE: Critically comment on the so-called 'communal' approach to social problems.
Provide a list of names, facts or items asked for without describing or explaining them (a particular order or category may or may not be specified).
EXAMPLE: Briefly list the most important personal qualities of an effective student.
Give an explanation of the reasons for your views or statements.
EXAMPLE: State your own view on the problem of unbridled capitalism. Substantiate your answer.
Name / Mention
Briefly name something without providing details.
EXAMPLE: Name at least five examples of environmental abuse.
Identify parts of a concept.
EXAMPLE: Analyse the ... view of stereotyping.
Give a structured overview in your own words of the key or most important aspects of a theme.
EXAMPLE: Summarise the key implications of Steger's theory about reconciliation.
Give a comprehensive report on a topic.
EXAMPLE: Write an essay on the essential features of an ideology.
Supply the required information without discussing it.
EXAMPLE: State four essential criteria that every good theory should meet.
Clarify or give reasons for something in your own words.
EXAMPLE: Explain the application of the ... model.
Point out the similarities and the differences between two objects or matters.
EXAMPLE: Compare socialism with individualism.
The following action verbs are also used often:
Point out something, make it known, or briefly state it.
Follow a questioning attitude and hold a formal argument.
Briefly state your own opinion about a topic.
Outline the main concepts of a topic by drawing a diagram and completing or linking the concepts in telegram style.
Mull over and contemplate something.
Make something clear enough to see or understand it.
What is meant by certain concepts / terms used in this study guide?
As mentioned previously, we repeatedly use words and concepts such as 'remember', 'understand', 'apply', 'analyse', 'evaluate', 'assess', 'create', etc. in both the text of this Study Guide and in the dialogue boxes and the assignments. It is crucial that you understand exactly what we mean when we use these words / concepts and therefore we would like to approach this issue from a slightly different angle. In the table below we tried to indicate that:
words / concepts such as those used above, actually refer to cognitive events;
each of these cognitive events requires of you as student to do something specific, and
each cognitive event has a whole group of 'action verbs' usually associated with it.
What you, as student, should be able to do
Examples of action verbs
Retrieve relevant knowledge from your long-term memory.
Recognise, recall, define, describe, identify, list, match, reproduce, select, state.
Construct meaning from information and concepts.
Paraphrase, interpret, give examples, classify, summarise, deduce, compare, discuss, explain.
Perform a procedure or use a technique in a given situation. This may mean that you will have to implement procedures regularly or will have to determine which procedure should be used in a particular situation.
Change, demonstrate, predict, bring in relation to, indicate how, solve, determine.
Split information into smaller parts and determine how the parts relate to each other and to an overall purpose or structure.
Analyse, compare, contrast, organise, distinguish, examine, illustrate, point out, link, explain, differentiate, organise, assign.
Make a judgement, based on your critical interpretation of relevant criteria and standards.
Comment, check, criticise, judge, review, discriminate, justify, interpret, support.
Combine elements to form a cohesive or functional whole; reorganise elements to form a new pattern.
Combine, design, plan, rearrange, reconstruct, rewrite, generate, produce.
Assessment and evaluation in this module
The assessment and evaluation for this second-year module on Understanding your world is based on the following tasks:
1. active participation in class, such that it reflects understanding of the prescribed texts for the module as well as reading beyond the listed references;
2. a written examination (as an assignment) on the key concepts and learning materials introduced in the module,
3. four written summative assignments (max. 700 words) to conclude your understanding of the learning material offered in this study guide that specifically addresses and include the following issues:
evidence of your ability to place any important issue / problem within the context of your life world experience;
evidence of your ability to formulate appropriate questions to interrogate theoretically any particular problem;
evidence of your ability to use a variety of sources to locate relevant literature regarding the identified problem;
evidence of your ability to write a logical and coherent literature review of limited scope that relates to a particular problem;
evidence of your ability to make appropriate and relevant inferences about a particular life world problem, based upon the literature and to draw justifiable theoretical conclusions.
4. the four assignments (discussed above) will have a cumulative weighting of 50% for the module. The examination will have a weighting of 50%. The module participation mark is calculated according to the directives of A.1.38 and A.8.7.4 (refer to official 'A'-rules of the NWU) regarding the relation between participation marks and examination marks as indicated by the module outcomes (refer to regulation ON.4.1 in the official Calendar of the NWU). Every assignment will count 25% of the participation mark.
5. Access to the examination can only be gained if official proof of participation has been obtained. Please note that acquisition of proof of participation will only be issued if
i) the student has complied with the particular/specific requirements as stated in the Study Guide for this module, and
ii) a participation mark of at least 40% has been obtained for assessment tasks 1 – 4 (four assignments) in this module.
Study Unit 1: World views and ideologies
Study Unit 2: Globalisation: The world in which we live: challenges and dangers.
Study Unit 3: Ecological crisis. Our environment: How safe are we?
Study Unit 4: Are my rights being violated? What are my responsibilities as a citizen of this country?
Study Unit 5: Reconciliation in a divided country
Study Unit 6: Application of the scientific method: global warming
Study Unit 7: The assignment
Module outcomes and method of working
Study unit 1: World views & Ideologies
1.1 Introduction and definitions
1.2 Nature and functions of world views
Study unit 1: World views & Ideologies
1.3 Ideology – definitions and examples
1.4 A modern Western world view
Study unit 1: World views & Ideologies
1.5 A traditional African world view
1.6 A Christian world view
Study unit 1: Completion of task for study unit 1 (no classes)
Study unit 2: Globalisation
2.1 Definition (Wikipedia)
2.2 Fleisch (Education)
Hand in of Task 1 (world views)
Study unit 2: Globalisation
2.3 Boesak, Weusmann, Amjad-Ali (religion/church and globalisation)
2.4 Steger (Ideologies of Globalisation)
Study unit 3: Ecological crisis. Our environment: How safe are we?
Hand in of Task 2 (globalisation)
Test week – no test and no class
Study unit 4: Are my rights being violated? What are my responsibilities as a citizen of this country? (human rights)
Hand in of Task 3 (ecological crisis)
Study unit 5: Reconciliation in a divided country
Study unit 6: Application of the scientific method: global warming
Hand in of Task 4 (human rights OR reconciliation OR global warming)
Study unit 7: Assignment for exam will be discussed
This module is aimed at achieving the following outcome:
you will develop some of the skills required to be able to know and understand the different life world issues and to cope with future challenges.
This outcome embody the following sub-outcomes:
1. You will have developed a broad understanding of the range of problems and issues that mark your current life world landscape.
2. You will have developed a basic level of competence to apply cognitive, critical skills to a few life world problems that you are being confronted in your personal life world.
3. You will have developed an ability to apply theoretical understandings regarding the conduct of basic research procedures, and to extend your theoretical insights to still other problems in your life world.
Competence is shown when you are able to:
show by example an understanding of pertinent theoretical concepts and ideas essential to dealing with a problem in your own life world;
to justify, with reference to certain arguments and sources of information, the role played in thought and praxis by a person’s ideology, religion, personal world view, philosophy of life, political commitment, value system, etc.;
to argue, from a particular theoretical, ideological, world view position, a set of related concepts or ideas, and present possible answers to a selection of life world issues;
demonstrate a familiarity with the major lines of debate with respect to a few selected life world issues;
define and distinguish between certain important concepts and ideological / world view positions;
interpret theory about certain selected issues as sources of meaning and as guides to reflection and choice with regard to action;
grasp the relationship between theory and praxis with respect to a series of selected life world issues;
demonstrate an awareness of the variety of contexts in which theory might apply;
show by example a sensitivity to current issues, problems and trends in South Africa;
evaluate, appraise and justify critically (with due reference to applicable theory, concepts and ideas) reasons for favouring a particular solution to a life world problem.
Test the state of your knowledge/insight.
List of concepts with or without explanations.
Estimated time needed to study.
Now study the following section / explanation / discussion thoroughly.
Read the prescribed material in the text book / an article, etc.
Date of submission.
Warning against plagiarism
ASSIGNMENTS ARE INDIVIDUAL TASKS AND NOT GROUP ACTIVITIES. (UNLESS EXPLICITLY INDICATED AS GROUP ACTIVITIES)
Copying of text from other learners or from other sources (for instance the study guide, prescribed material or directly from the internet) is not allowed – only brief quotations are allowed and then only if indicated as such.
You should reformulate existing text and use your own words to explain what you have read. It is not acceptable to retype existing text and just acknowledge the source in a footnote – you should be able to relate the idea or concept, without repeating the original author to the letter.
The aim of the assignments is not the reproduction of existing material, but to ascertain whether you have the ability to integrate existing texts, add your own interpretation and/or critique of the texts and offer a creative solution to existing problems.
Be warned: students who submit copied text will obtain a mark of zero for the assignment and disciplinary steps may be taken by the Faculty and/or University. It is also unacceptable to do somebody else’s work, to lend your work to them or to make your work available to them to copy – be careful and do not make your work available to anyone!