Creating Social Change at the Edge of Chaos: Chaos Theory and the U.S. Anti-Apartheid Movement

By Angelyn Flowers and Sylvia Hill.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Cascading uncertainties can push individuals into crime; communities into decay; groups into radicalization and terrorism; and nation-states into permanent instability. The paradigm shift that enables us to recognize and understand these phenomena also provides opportunity for correction. It is at the “edge of chaos” that the greatest possibility for change exists. The ability to capitalize on that moment of the greatest seeming disorder and recognize the order within is what provides the ability to strategically develop a blueprint for change. This paper uses the anti-apartheid movement in the United States during a specific time frame as a case study to explore the application of chaos theory as an explanatory model for understanding how social forces within South Africa and external to South Africa dismantled the apartheid regime.

Keywords: Chaos Theory, Apartheid, Social Change, Free South Africa Movement

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp.201-218. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.024MB).

Dr. Angelyn Flowers

Professor, Criminal Justice Program, Department of Urban Affairs, Social Science and Social Work, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, USA

Dr. Angelyn Flowers’ primary research interest is in the application of chaos theory to the study of complex systems such as social systems and in the development and utilization of computer models and computer-based simulations to examine social destabilization phenomenon such as crime or terrorism within a complex systems framework. She is also interested in the area of public policy issues, particularly in the utilization of spatial analysis, data-mining, statistical analysis, and triangulated research methodologies. Dr. Flowers has both a law degree and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Dr. Sylvia Hill

Professor, Criminal Justice Program, Department of Urban Affairs, Social Science and Social Work, University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, USA

Dr. Sylvia Hill is a professor of criminal justice and Director of the Institute for Public Safety and Justice at the University of the District of Columbia. Dr. Hill has 30 years of experience as a community organizer locally, nationally, and internationally. She has served as Secretary General of the North American Delegation, Sixth Pan African Congress, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. June, 1974, was a Founding Member of the Southern Africa Support Project, 1978- 90 in Washington; D. C., U.S.A.; Associate Director of the Nelson Mandela and Winnie Mandela historic African National Congress first visit to the United States in 1990 and as Rapporteur at the UN World Conference on Racism in August 2001, held in Durban, South Africa. Dr. Hill has spoken and published extensively both nationally and internationally on race, radicalism and the anti-apartheid movement.

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