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Title: Tribal-landed property : the political economy of the BaFokeng chieftancy, South Africa, 1837-1994 /
Author: Capps, Gavin James
ISNI:       0000 0004 2695 0565
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis presents a materialist analysis of the modem African chieftaincy. Chieftaincy is conceived as a dialectical unity of local state and corporate land relations that are both form and effect of the contradictory development of the capital relation in sub-Saharan Africa under conditions of colonial imperialism. As a state institution the chieftaincy is everywhere constituted as a territorialised tribal authority, while as a landed institution it has the potential (though by no means the necessity) to assume the `class function' of modern landed property in relation to agrarian and industrial capital. The thesis terms this phenomenal form `tribal landed property'. Drawing on oral histories, institutional interviews and archival data collected during a year's local-level fieldwork (2000-2001), the thesis applies this theoretical framework to a detailed case study of the BaFokeng chieftaincy. It proceeds at two increasingly concrete levels of analysis. The first explores how the core relations of tribal authority and corporate landed property that have defined and dynamised the modern BaFokeng chieftaincy were historically constituted in the course of South Africa's `racial capitalist' development (1837-1977). This establishes that the institution was a creation and, in key ways, a beneficiary of the emergent colonial, segregationist and apartheid orders, while casting new light on key themes in rural South African historiography. The second focuses on the (celebrated) struggles between this chieftaincy and an alliance of the Bophuthatswana homeland regime and the Impala mining company over the rights to the vast platinum reserves in BaFokeng and the distribution of their revenues (1977-1994). Analysis of the 'economic' dimension of this struggle demonstrates the utility of conceiving the BaFokeng chieftaincy as a distinctive form of modem landed property in contradictory relationships with mining capital, mine labour and the state. This also contributes an oriýtinal account of the increasingly important platinum industry. The logic of this 'tribal landed property' approach may open the way to a more general materialist conception of `communal' tenure forms typically considered beyond the reach of political economy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available