Strangers but for Stories: The Role of Storytelling in the Construction of Contemporary White Afrikaans-Speaking Identity in Central South Africa

P. Conrad Kotze, Jan K. Coetzee, Florian Elliker, Thomas S. Eberle


This article explores the application of an integral framework for sociological practice to a case study of White Afrikaans-speaking identity in South Africa. In addition to the introduction of the framework, identity is conceived as a multi-dimensional phenomenon which is formed and shaped biologically, psychologically and socially. Using the empirical examples of the case study, the socially constructed aspects of identity are interpretively investigated. The stories and their narrative repertoires, structures and contents are integrally reconstructed and analysed by means of an approach that includes in-depth interviews, a hermeneutical interpretation and the contextualisation of these stories within the broader meta-narrative of South African history. The analysis demonstrates that White Afrikaans-speaking identity has diversified since the end of apartheid in 1994, i.e. the self-definitions and self-understandings of White Afrikaans-speakers do not (exclusively) refer anymore to the formerly dominant notion of the Afrikaner. The analysis concludes that there exist three contemporary White Afrikaans-speaking identities in South Africa, namely the Afrikaners, the Afrikaanses, and the Pseudo-Boers.



integral sociology; ontological dimensions; epistemological modes; identity; narrative repertoire; storytelling; phenomenology; hermeneutics; Afrikaner; Afrikaanse; Pseudo-Boer

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Copyright (c) 2015 P. Conrad Kotze, Jan K. Coetzee, Florian Elliker, Thomas S. Eberle

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