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Title: Citizenship and the politics of poverty definition during the segregation, apartheid and democratic eras in South Africa, 1910-2010
Author: Magasela, Wiseman
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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In social policy, there is a direct relation between citizenship with social rights and the understanding of poverty. The notion of citizenship with rights informs the conceptualization of poverty. The relation between citizenship and the conceptualisation and definition of poverty is explored in South African society covering segregation, apartheid and post-apartheid democratic periods. Marshall's theory of citizenship with its three elements of social political, civil and social rights is the theoretic-analytic framework employed in the thesis. In the segregation era there was a link between the denial of full citizenship to blacks and how poverty was understood. This is evident in the adoption of policies and laws such as the civilized labour policy, discriminatory Wage Acts, Wage Boards to determine the level of wages of black workers and interventions such as the 1932 Carnegie Commission aimed at addressing the poor white problem. In the apartheid era, a system founded on racial discrimination, it was Edward Batson's PDL that he pioneered to demonstrate that there were many South Africans living below this 'barest minimum' that stood for 'existence at the lowest possible level' that was used to define poverty among blacks and adopted in fixing the wages of black workers. The wages of black workers remained lower than the PDL. The Household Subsistence Level (HSL) and the Minimum Living Level (MLL) were derivatives of the PDL (the HSL was exactly the PDL, the MLL was lower in value) and were conceptually similar were used as poverty definitions and poverty lines to fix the wages of black workers, thus showing the link between the denial of citizenship and the politics of poverty definition. In the post-apartheid era with a Constitution that enshrines a Bill of Rights with explicit and specific social and economic rights, and human dignity, social justice and the commitment to improve the quality of life of all citizens as foundational values aimed at addressing extensive multi-dimensional poverty, apartheid era concepts and definitions of poverty (mainly the HSL and MLL) continue. This has been reinforced by the analyses of poverty undertaken by the World Bank in the post-apartheid era. There is, therefore, a conceptual discord and contradiction between the understanding of poverty expressed in social and economic rights in the Constitution and the use of absolute, minimalist, physical efficiency definitions of poverty. In the democratic era there are emerging studies and analyses of poverty that go beyond absolute measures and consider poverty as fundamentally multi-dimensional. However even these studies do not seek to operationalise the Constitutional provisions.
Supervisor: Noble, Michael Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available