The need for a new language? How historically disadvantaged institutions grapple with the effects of labelling in Higher Education: the case of the University of the Western Cape
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Tertiary institutions in South Africa have been dichotomised through the colonial structure and apartheid which sought to subjugate some institutions and elevate others. Not only have historically disadvantaged institutions (HDIs) faced a set of deep material difficulties, they have also had to grapple with the negative implications of naming. Using the work of Stryker and Burke as well as Bourdieu, this article interrogates the complexities of the HDI label for the University of the Western Cape. This is a complex issue because the same label can simultaneously provide access to state resources and inhibit opportunities from potential sponsors and employers. Unlike individuals who can hold multiple identities, institutions are expected to embrace a particular identity. Our conclusion is that we need to open the conversation about institutional labelling and develop a new language to describe former HDIs which should ideally acknowledge their difficult history without perpetuating stigma.