PRIVILEGED PRECARIAT, white workers and South Africa's long transition to majority rule

: van Zyl-Hermann (D.)

R 350.00
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338pp., illus., paperback, First SA Edition, Pietermaritzburg, 2023


First published in the UK in 2021.

"The relationship between race and class has long been a central concern of South African historians and social scientists, but, in this new book, Danelle van Zyl-Hermann brings a genuinely new and exciting perspective to this field. Her study of organised white workers skilfully and subtly shows how class divisions within white society were salient throughout the times of segregation and apartheid and have remained significant in the country's new democracy. Written in an elegant and lucid style, and free of some of the ideological baggage of previous work on the subject, this book provides a superb survey of the history of white trade unionism and its political impact. it then goes on to a brilliant fieldwork-based study of the new white populist-labour movement of the post-1994 era. Altogether, this is a riveting contribution to South African scholarship" Jonathan Hyslop, Professor Emeritus, Colgate University and Extraordinary Professor, University of Pretoria

"An insightful and original historical analysis of the multi-layered politics and subjectivities of white workers from the early 20th century into the democratic era. Its examination of the MWU’s evolution from a racially-exclusive union to its reinvention as Solidarity persuasively asserts that the late 1970s was the crucial moment of crisis for white workers’ relationship with the apartheid state. Importantly, the book lays bare Solidarity’s contemporary project, inspired by the Zionist Histadrut, to create a ‘state-in-state’ particularly in the interests of white Afrikaans-speakers." Noor Nieftagodien, University of the Witwatersrand

Danelle van Zyl-Hermann is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of History at the University of Basel, Switzerland, and a Research Associate with the International Studies Group at the University of the Free State, South Africa. She is the co-editor of Rethinking White Societies in Southern Africa, 1930s-1990s (2020).