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Our Researchers

Dr Heidi Brooks


Tel: +27 11 950 4298

Teaching commitments
  • Semester AZA1010 (Fundamentals of Political Science); AZA3015 (War, peace and international security).
  • Semester AZA3301 (Social Inclusion Internship Programme); AZA2016 (Public policymaking).
  • Masters dissertation supervision.
  • Heidi obtained her PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg in 2015. She also holds an MA in Political Studies from Wits University and a BA Honours in Development Studies from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. Heidi was awarded a Leverhulme Trust scholarship to carry out her doctoral research, examining the African National Congress’ (ANC) theory and practice of participatory democracy. She has published several peer-reviewed journal articles on the history of democratic thought in the ANC, the 1980s people’s power movement, and participatory democracy in post-1994 South Africa. Heidi is currently completing a book manuscript on participatory democracy and the ANC, and is undertaking ongoing research into conceptions of democracy amongst members of the South African Police Service.
Professional bodies associations
  • South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS).
  • Research Associate of the Centre for Social Change, University of Johannesburg


Research interest

Heidi’s research interests lie in South African political history and public policy, democratic theory, liberation and mass movements, state-civil society relations and the role of police in democracy.

Peer-reviewed Journal Publications
  • Brooks, H. (2019). ‘Democracy and its discontents: Protest from a police perspective’, South African Crime Quarterly, 67, March 2018.
  • Brooks, H. (2018). ‘Popular power and vanguardism: The democratic deficit of 1980s ‘people’s power’’, Politikon, 45 (3), pp 313-334.
  • Brooks, H. (2018). ‘Differential interpretations in the discourse of ‘people’s power’: Unveiling intellectual heritage and normative democratic thought’, African Studies, Volume 77, (3), pp. 451-472.
  • Brooks, H. (2018). ‘Merging radical and liberal traditions: The Constitution Committee and the development of democratic thought in the African National Congress, 1986-1990’, Journal of Southern African Studies, 44 (1) pp.167-184.
  • Brooks, H. (2017). ‘The mass movement and public policy: Discourses of participatory democracy in post-1994 South Africa’, Journal of Modern African Studies, 55 (1), pp.105-127.
Research reports
  • Brooks, H. (2004). ‘The Dominant Party System: Challenges for South Africa’s Second Decade of Democracy’, Journal of African Elections, 3 (2), December 2004, EISA.
  • Brooks, H. And Letsholo, S. (2004). ‘Political violence and Intimidation. Sofala: a cause for concern?’ Election Talk (13) May 2004, EISA.


international Conference Presentations
  • Brooks, H., T. Ngwane and C. Runciman, ‘Decolonising and re-theorising the meaning of democracy: A South African perspective’, International Sociological Association (ISA) Conference, Toronto, Canada, 15-21 July 2018.
  • Brooks, H. ‘From Rights to Revolution. Participation and Civil and Political Rights: the African National Congress (ANC) in the 1940-60s’, African Studies Association (ASA) UK Conference, University of Leeds, United Kingdom, 6-8 September 2012.
National Conference Presentations
  • Brooks, H. ‘Conceptions of democracy amongst officers of the South African Police Service’. Paper presented at the South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS) Conference, University of Pretoria, 1-3 October 2018.
  • Brooks, H. ‘Discourses of Participatory Democracy in Post-1994 South Africa’, SAAPS Conference, UNISA, 10-12 September 2014.
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