Attitudes towards foreign affairs and policy in South Africa: tabulation report based on the 2013 round of the South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS)

OUTPUT TYPE: Research report- client
TITLE AUTHOR(S): B.Roberts, J.Struwig, M.Ngungu, S.Gordon
DEPARTMENT: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES), Inclusive Economic Development (IED)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8129
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/2528

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This report is one of the outputs associated with the project supported by the Open Society Foundation South Africa's (OSF-SA) foreign policy programmatic area entitled the South African Foreign Policy Initiative (SAFPI). A module of 26 questions capturing different aspects of the public relationship with foreign policy was developed and fielded as part of the eleventh round of the South African Social Attitudes Survey (SASAS), conducted in the last quarter of 2013. This drew on the experience of the previous work on foreign policy attitudes support by SAFPI, which included an experimental module developed by the University of Stellenbosch. The SASAS series has been administered by the HSRC on an annual basis since 2003. It is a nationally representative sample survey of adults aged 16 and older that investigates public's attitudes, beliefs, behaviour patterns and values in the country. The long term aim of this survey programme is to construct an empirical evidence base that will enable analysts to track and explain the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of the country's diverse populations. In designing the OSF-SA SAFPI module on attitudes towards foreign affairs and policy, we have focused on establishing a firm conceptual basis to the module drawing on relevant international attitudinal work. Given that we are constrained to a limited number of items, we have chosen to focus on the following conceptual constructs: (i) interest in foreign policy issues; (ii) foreign policy informational access; (iii) foreign policy knowledge; (iv) foreign policy goals / national interests; (v) general foreign policy preferences. We have attempted to develop indicators that inform these constructs drawing on the previous survey work commissioned by OSFSA SAFPI as well international measurement and literature. It also important to mention that the module was designed to complement the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) module on national identity which was fielded in the same SASAS questionnaire version as the SAFPI items, since it contains a fair number of foreign policy indicators. This will allow the HSRC-led team to broaden the foreign policy attitudes analysis, but also provide a cross-national element to the work in the longer term.