Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Ercüment Çelik on The “labour aristocracy” in the early 20th-century South Africa: An analysis beyond traditional conceptual and territorial boundaries.

Abstract: Drawing on a review of key literature, this article analyses the labour aristocracy in early 20th-century South Africa, going beyond traditional conceptual and territorial boundaries created through a methodological nationalism and Eurocentrism since the emergence of labour history as an academic discipline. It identifies some key dimensions attributed to the labour aristocracy in mainstream approaches that focused on Victorian and Edwardian Britain, and attempts to illustrate how these could be considered in analysing the particular South African case. The article mainly focuses on how the understanding of labour aristocracy would be reconstructed by demonstrating an aristocracy of labour that merges with an aristocracy of colour in South Africa. The analyses, going beyond the traditional conceptual and territorial boundaries, not only contribute to the understanding of the local case of South Africa, but are also regarded as providing extraordinary clarity to what labour aristocracy could mean in a reconstructed theory of aristocracy of labour. In the final analysis, it can be said that these scholarly engagements with the labour aristocracy in South Africa particularized and reordered the mainstream approaches to labour aristocracy and, furthermore, expanded them by including a new dimension, namely race relations. Moreover, these perspectives, deeply engaging with the local case, enrich the analysis of South African society and reconstruct the mainstream theory rather than develop an autonomous theory. Equally important is the inclusion of a transnational dimension, which this paper demonstrates to be extremely useful in the analysis of this local (South African) case.

Full text can be reached at: https://ankara.academia.edu/ErcümentCelik