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Who is SAAPS?

The South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS) came into life in May 2001, as the result of the merger of the South African Political Studies Association (SAPSA) and the South African Chapter of the African Association of Political Science (AAPS-SA). The Association is the official body of the disciplines of Political Science and International Relations in South Africa.

The primary international affiliations of SAAPS are the International Political Science Association (IPSA), the African Association of Political Science (AAPS), and the World International Studies Committee (WISC).


The official journal of the South African Association of Political Science is Politikon, published by Taylor & Francis (Routledge). Politikon articles are currently noted in ABC Pol Sci, Advance Bibliography of Contents, GEOBASE, Index to South African Periodicals, International Development Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, and Political Science and Government.


SAAPS hosts biennial national conferences. In the alternate years, the Association presents the Research Colloquium. The conferences take the usual professional association congress format. Research Colloquia are somewhat more informal, and scholars are encouraged to present work-in-progress, beside conventional research papers. In 2009 and 2011, various regional Collquia took place in September and October. The 2014 Biennial Conference will be hosted by UNISA.  More information to follow soon.

Aims and Activities

The main aims and activities of SAAPS are to:

  • Perform an educational function by promoting knowledge and understanding of national and international political affairs through teaching, workshops, discussion and study groups, seminars, conferences, publications and research;
  • Encourage contact and stimulate relationships among individuals and Institutions concerned with the systematic study of national and international political affairs;
  • Perform empowerment functions through a special emphasis on the encouragement and facilitation of emerging and student scholarship.

Governing structures

An elected Council and an Executive Committee govern the affairs of SAAPS. The latter consists of the president, vice-president and secretary-treasurer. Office-bearers are elected at a general members’ meeting that coincides with the Association’s Biennial Conference. The Secretary-treasurer manages its financial affairs. The last elections were in September 2012.


Academics, students, practitioners, and anybody interested in the disciplines of Political Science and International Relations are welcome to join. See Join SAAPS for current information on membership fees.

For more information: SAAPS President, Prof. Clive Napier at


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