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Under the Rainbow: Migration, Precarity and People Power in Post-Apartheid South Africa
Linköping University, REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and Society. Linköping University, Department of Social and Welfare Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences. (REMESO)
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This essay discusses systemic drivers of poverty, inequality and precarious livelihoods. It focuses on the transformation of South Africa’s labour force management and its migratory system from a centralised management of unfree labour by the apartheid state bureaucracy to a post-apartheid state of precarity driven by ‘flexploitation’. The present day nexus of precarious work and a fracturing citizenship is seen to represent a ‘duality of flexibility’ linking practices of employment and labour control to areas like welfare benefits, citizenship status, political participation and informal livelihoods. This is applicable to migrants and natives alike, but with migrants being particularly ‘flexible’. The paper connects the issue of precarity with politics of xenophobia seen as a stratagem for the retaining of the dominant post-apartheid political hegemony at a moment of deepening social crisis and popular upheaval. For labour struggles and an insurgent citizenship of the poor the anti-apartheid movement’s legendary Freedom Charter is a critical memorandum and a present day rallying point for ‘people power’.

Keyword [en]
sociology, political economy, precarity, migration, social inequality, social movements, racism, South Africa
National Category
Social Sciences Work Sciences International Migration and Ethnic Relations Sociology
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-123183OAI: diva2:877189
Forte, Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, 2006-1524Swedish Research Council, 2013-6682
Available from: 2015-12-05 Created: 2015-12-05 Last updated: 2016-01-07Bibliographically approved

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Schierup, Carl-Ulrik
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REMESO - Institute for Research on Migration, Ethnicity and SocietyDepartment of Social and Welfare StudiesFaculty of Arts and Sciences
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