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Perceptions of class and income in post-apartheid Cape Town

Year: 2007
Working paper number: 198
Author: Seekings, Jeremy
Unit: SSU

The renaissance of studies of class in post-apartheid South Africa has not produced any certainty as to the optimal delineation of classes in empirical analysis. This paper uses data from a 2005 survey in Cape Town to examine the relationships between occupational (or objective) class, self-reported (or subjective) class, race, neighbourhood income and household income. Cape Town is not an industrial city, and thus has small working classes, but (like all South African cities) it does have high unemployment. There are clear relationships between race, education and occupational class (unsurprisingly, given the history of apartheid). The relationships between occupational class, incomes and self-reported class are less clear. The paper concludes with a preliminary analysis of some of the possible consequences of class, in terms of perceptions of the social structure and of government policy, and of racial identities and attitudes.

Publication file: WP198.pdf