A country's attitudinal profile is as much a part of its social reality as are its demographic make-up, its culture and its distinctive social patterns. It helps to provide a nuanced picture of a country's circumstances, its continuities and changes, its democratic health, and how it feels to live there. It also helps to measure the country's progress towards the achievement of its economic, social and political goals, based on the measurement of both 'objective' and 'subjective' realities. South African social attitudes - changing times, diverse voices is a new series aimed at providing an analysis of attitudes and values towards a wide range of social and political issues relevant to life in contemporary South African society. As the series develops, we hope that readers will be able to draw meaningful comparisons with the findings of previous years and thus develop a richer picture and deeper appreciation of changing South African social values. This volume in the series, presents the public's responses during extensive nation-wide interviews conducted by the HSRC in late 2003.The findings are analysed in three thematic sections - the first provides an in-depth examination of race, class and politics; the second gives a critical assessment of the public's perceptions of poverty, inequality and service delivery, and the last explores societal values such as partner violence and moral attitudes. South African social attitudes is essential reading for anyone seeking a guide to contemporary social or political issues and debates. It should prove an indispensable tool not only for government policy-makers, social scientists and students, but also for general readers wishing to gain a better understanding of their fellow citizens and themselves.
Dr Udesh Pillay is Executive Director of the Centre for Service Delivery at the HSRC. He holds a PhD in Geography from the University of Minnesota. Prior to joining the HSRC, he was Head of the Delimitation and Planning Directorate of the Independent Electoral Commission and prior to that, a senior manager at The Centre for Development and Enterprise. Professor Richard Tomlinson is Chair of Urban Planning in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne.