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Title: Reconsidering apartheid : rethinking race and class in twentieth century South Africa
Author: Gann, R. J.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis draws upon the work of Michel Foucault to provide a Foucauldian account of apartheid South Africa. Its original contribution lies not solely in the distinctiveness of this particular account, but also in the way in which it seeks to address and overcome the problem of race/class reductionism that is typically found in many early explanations of apartheid. Beginning with a survey of early liberal and Neo-Marxist explanations, it goes on to examine the various ways in which both of these schools of thought have sought to respond to this problem of race/class reductionism. Building upon Neo-Marxist responses it suggests that by adopting a Foucauldian perspective the Marxist category of class, along with the categories of race and racism, can be resituated onto an entirely different epistemological plane - such that they can be understood as bodies of knowledge and practices that are constitutive of various subjectivities and identities. This shift of perspective is further developed by taking on board what Foucault has to say about modern state power. Those who rule, Foucault suggests, use the state in a whole series of defensive, identity-making and self-affirming strategies through which they make and secure their own particular sense of self. Applying this alternative Foucauldian perspective to twentieth century South Africa it is argued that instead of understanding apartheid as a racial policy of a pre-given Afrikaner nationalist movement or as the cheap labour policy of white racist capitalists it can be understood as the particular manifestation of a series of self-affirming, identity-making and defensive strategies through which a white Afrikaner ruling elite was made and secured. This alternative Foucauldian approach has implications that reach beyond the specific context of apartheid South Africa suggesting the need to radically rethink the way in which race and racism are conventionally analysed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available