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The Hidden Debate: The Truth Revealed about the Battle over Affirmative Action in South Africa and the United States (African Studies: History, Politics, Economics and Culture)

The Hidden Debate: The Truth Revealed about the Battle over Affirmative Action in South Africa and the United States (African Studies: History, Politics, Economics and Culture)

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The Hidden Debate is a fresh and cutting-edge comparative analysis of the ongoing and highly charged social conflict over affirmative action in South Africa and the United States. The debate over affirmative action has raged for over 30 years in the United States and since the early 1990s in South Africa with minimal agreement or resolution. In part this discord remains because scholars, journalists, politicians, and other social analysts have failed to properly specify and examine the problem.

In The Hidden Debate, Dr. Khalfani develops the shell/core embedded conflict theory, a new theoretical approach to understanding social conflict, which argues that public debates over policy issues like affirmative action are at a stasis because the debating parties are not directly debating the true sources of the social conflict. These debaters are only engaged in a discourse at the surface of the issue. This is the shell debate. The core debate is indirectly addressed, at best. The conflict at the core level is over divergent interpretations of the core societal principles of liberty, equality, and justice. We examine these principles extensively using philosophical analysis to articulate how individuals or groups come to understand and attain core principles.

The Hidden Debate demonstrates that different populations, primarily African-origin and European-origin populations, interpret and view core societal principles differently and that these divergences represent the core conflict over the implementation of affirmative action policies and programs, and that these divergences are intimately linked to the racialized histories and legacies of these populations and countries.