In this social and economic history of the Indian working class of Durban, Bill Freund has woven strands of gender related, political, ethnic, and cultural issues into a complex and intriguing pattern. As "insiders and outsiders," the Indian working class presented an analytical challenge in studying economic history "from below." The result is a skillful representation of the nuances in the interplay of social forces, and the initiatives of particular classes and particular cultural formations, which simultaneously bring the larger picture into focus.
The essential underlying concern of this book is to relate the history of this group to the changing nature of South African capitalism in the twentieth century. It unites an interest in people and agency with a conviction that structures are important in limiting the circumstances in which men and women pursue their destiny.
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