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Accepted Paper:

Dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in small-scale farming in South Africa  

Author:

Elizabeth Hull (SOAS, University of London)

Paper short abstract:

I draw on ethnographic data from rural KwaZulu-Natal to consider the contemporary conditions of South Africa's small-scale farmers in relation to interconnected dynamics of inclusion and exclusion.

Paper long abstract:

A key argument developed by Eric Wolf in his landmark book 'Europe and the People Without History' is that cultural practices typically regarded as 'traditional' are in fact the product of an articulation between local and global processes. In South Africa, narratives of African 'tradition' were long used to justify exclusionary practices. While dismantling the agrarian basis of livelihoods and drawing people into the industrial workforce, successive colonial and apartheid governments deployed 'tradition' as a justification for withholding from Africans certain privileges afforded to whites. Simultaneous processes of exclusion and incorporation resulted. In certain respects, this two-way process has intensified in the post-apartheid period. In this paper I draw on ethnographic data from rural KwaZulu-Natal to consider the contemporary conditions of South Africa's small-scale farmers in the light of these larger historical and structural transformations. I draw on the work of Jane Guyer and James Ferguson to consider how, in Wolf's terms, local dynamics might analytically be 'disassembled' and 'reassembled' in relation to a wider totality of interconnected processes.

Panel HI01
Connections and Exclusions: People Without History in Contemporary Contexts in the Global South.