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The Centre for Social Science Research (CSSR) is an interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Cape Town dedicated to conducting and building capacity for systematic, policy-relevant social science research in South Africa, the region and across Africa.

Established in 2001, the CSSR has always comprised of research units as well as stand-alone projects. The CSSR presently includes three research units: the Sustainable Societies Unit (SSU), the Safety and Violence Initiative (SaVI) and the Adolescent Accelerators Research Hub (AARHub).

The CSSR works closely with the University of Cape Town's (UCT) Institute for Democracy, Citizenship and Public Policy in Africa (IDCPPA, which grew out of the CSSR), the Data First Resource Unit (which was started as part of CSSR as a digital archive of social science databases) and the Institute for Communities and Wildlife (iCWild, also established with strong support from the CSSR).

Methodologically, the CSSR research is empirical, but problem-driven. We utilise both quantitative and qualitative strategies of data collection.

CSSR projects are usually team-oriented, bringing together multiple local and international researchers, and offering post-graduate students significant opportunities for hands-on training by involving them in all stages of projects. Research findings are presented and discussed at regular weekly seminars and published as CSSR Working Papers.

Management Committee

The CSSR is governed by the Management Committee comprising the heads of the associated units and other senior researchers. Unit heads report to the CSSR Director, but the CSSR Director is accountable to the collective Management Committee. The Management Committee is currently comprised of the following:

  • Professor Catherine L. Ward, Director of the Centre for Social Science Research & Director of the Safety and Violence Initiative
  • Associate Professor Beatrice Conradie, Director of the Sustainable Societies Unit
  • Associate Professor Elona Toska , Director of the Adolescent Accelerators Research Hub

Advisory Board

The CSSR Director and the Management Committee report to the Dean of Humanities and to the CSSR Advisory Board. The main purpose of the board is to ensure that the CSSR fulfils its key mandate: to promote mixed methods social science research. As such, it is an academic board comprising representatives from faculties involved in social science research. The Advisory Board is currently comprised of the following:

  • Dean of Humanities, Department of Humanities (Chairperson)
  • Deputy-Dean of Humanities for Research, Department of Humanities
  • Director Centre for Social Science Research
  • Head of Department, Department of Political Studies, or representative
  • Head of Department, Department of Sociology, or representative
  • Director, DataFirst Resource Centre
  • Director, Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit
  • Vacant