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The Rise and Fall of the Weberian Analysis of Class in South Africa between 1949 and the early 1970s

Year: 2008
Working paper number: 239
Author: Seekings, Jeremy
Unit: SSU
Abstract:

The hegemony of Marxist approaches to the study of stratification in South Africa has obscured the prominence of Weberian contributions between the late 1940s and the early 1970s. Some of these Weberian studies focused on the nascent black middle class, paying particular attention to the importance of status. Others, influenced by the literature on the American South, used the concept of caste as an extreme form of status in analyzing the relationship between race and class in South Africa. Whilst flawed, these studies did address directly aspects of South Africans' everyday lives – and especially interactions – that the subsequent structural Marxists side-stepped and with which neo- Marxist social historians struggled. Since the end of apartheid, sociologists – and novelists – have returned to the study of everyday social relationships and perceptions of stratification, paying particular attention to status.


Publication file: WP239.pdf
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