Original Articles

Community Engagement as Liberal Performance, as Critical Intellectualism and as Praxis

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 22, issue 4, 2012 , pages: 489–498
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2012.10820560
Author(s): Mohamed SeedatUniversity of South Africa, South Africa


This article aims to illustrate that engagement is a dynamic and evolutionary process, moulded by contesting ideological, social actor and contextual forces. For purposes of illustration, I draw on a university-affiliated, participatory enactment of community engagement as a case example. The case illustrates that community engagement may assume a form of action, critical intellectualism and praxis. As action, community engagement is oriented towards performance of liberal democracy. Community engagement, as shaped by the critical intellectualism of the Black Consciousness philosophy, reflects community self-affirmation, autonomy and intellectual independence. Community engagement as praxis may be characterised by reflexivity, vision-making and the building of interpersonal relationships. Community engagement is marked by a dynamic interplay between race, power and counter-hegemonic ideology.

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