The Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER) was established in Rhodes University in 1954. Strongly grounded in the Eastern Cape since its inception, the ISER soon developed a diverse portfolio of research initiatives involving its own staff and staff members of other Rhodes academic departments. Throughout its existence, engagement by academics from a range of departments within the university in the work of the ISER contributed not only to the content and quality of ISER’s research work, but also enriched teaching within those academics’ home departments.

Scholars associated with the ISER in the early period of its establishment produced a series of scholarly volumes comprising the Keiskammahoek Rural Survey (1947–1952) and the Border Regional Survey (1956–1964) amongst others. Although the former documented changes in Keiskammahoek since the establishment of the apartheid regime in 1948, the ISER, in its early years, generally did not engage with the consequences of apartheid for the well-being of the black majority, and did not challenge the status quo of repressive, white minority rule. This approach gradually changed in later years, when the ISER came to engage more actively with the social conditions and development problems of the Eastern Cape through empirical research and public policy engagement.



Last Modified: Wed, 01 Jul 2020 11:22:13 SAST