ISBN-10:
067402186X
ISBN-13:
9780674021860
Pub. Date:
04/28/2006
Publisher:
Harvard
Why Race Matters in South Africa

Why Race Matters in South Africa

by Michael MacDonald

Hardcover

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Overview

Why Race Matters in South Africa

This book tells the story of how the transition to democracy in South Africa enfranchised blacks politically but without raising most of them from poverty. It shows in detail how the continuing strength of the white establishment forces the leaders of the African National Congress (ANC) to compromise plans for full political and economic transformation. Deferring the economic transformation, the new dispensation nurtures a small black elite. The new elite absorbs the economic interests of the established white elites while continuing to share racial identities with the majority of their countrymen, muffling the divisions between rich whites and poor blacks, thus ensuring political stability in the new South Africa.

Although democratic South Africa is officially "non-racial," the book shows that racial solidarities continue to play a role in the country's political economy. Ironically, racial identities, which ultimately proved the undoing of apartheid, have come to the rescue of contemporary democratic capitalism. The author explains how and why racial solidarities are being revamped, focusing particularly on the role of black economic empowerment, the black bourgeoisie, and how calls to represent the identities of black South Africans are having the effect of substituting the racial interests of black elites for the economic interests of the black poor.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674021860
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/28/2006
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

About the Author

Michael MacDonald is Frederick L. Schuman Professor of International Relations at Williams College.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction

1. The Logic of White Supremacy

2. The Mother of Identity Politics

3. The White Man's Burden

4. The Politics of the Political Economy

5. Dodging the Apocalypse: The Power Politics of the Transition to Democracy

6. Non-Racialism as an Ideology

7. The Political Economy of Identity Politics

8. The Who, not the What

9. Conclusion

Notes

Bibliography

Index

What People are Saying About This

Why Race Matters in South Africa is an important and timely book both for its theoretical and its empirical contributions. It fills a void to engage what is an increasingly central debate on the politics of economic power and race in South Africa and beyond. This book offers a thoughtful academic analysis of pressing current issues which are central to any meaningful discussion of the very nature of democracy, identity, and political economy

Wendy Brown

Why Race Matters in South Africa is rare and important work. A probing study of South African racialism before and after apartheid, this is also social science with historical and theoretical depth, political theory with deep empirical grounding, and political economy fruitfully supplemented by political theory and cultural analysis. The writing is wonderfully clear and compelling, and the analysis is complex and insightful. This book should be of interest to a wide range of scholars, including those in comparative politics, African politics, state theory, theories of race and ethnicity, and political and cultural theories of identity.
Wendy Brown, University of California, Berkeley

Elke Zuern

Why Race Matters in South Africa is an important and timely book both for its theoretical and its empirical contributions. It fills a void to engage what is an increasingly central debate on the politics of economic power and race in South Africa and beyond. This book offers a thoughtful academic analysis of pressing current issues which are central to any meaningful discussion of the very nature of democracy, identity, and political economy
Elke Zuern, Sarah Lawrence College

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