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Retail Worker Politics, Race and Consumption in South Africa : Shelved in the Service Economy

Author: Bridget Kenny
Publisher: Cham : Springer International Publishing : Imprint : Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
Series: Rethinking international development series.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This book argues that we need to focus attention on the ways that workers themselves have invested subjectively in what it means to be a worker. By doing so, we gain an explanation that moves us beyond the economic decisions made by actors, the institutional constraints faced by trade unions, or the power of the state to interpellate subjects. These more common explanations make workers and their politics visible  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Printed edition:
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Bridget Kenny
ISBN: 9783319695518 3319695517 3319695509 9783319695501
OCLC Number: 1040612596
Description: 1 online resource (XV, 282 pages 15 illustrations, 3 illustrations in color.) : online resource.
Contents: Chapter 1. Introduction: Precarity in Store --
Chapter 2. Servicing a Nation: White Women Shop Assistants and the Fantasy of Belonging --
Chapter 3. Rupturing Relations: Abasebenzi as Collective Political Subject --
Chapter 4. Regulating Retail: The Category "Employee" and its Divisions --
Chapter 5. Signifying Belonging: Restructuring and Workplace Relations --
Chapter 6. "Tools Down, Everybody out to the Canteen!": Wildcats and Go-slows, Political Subjects Reconfigured --
Chapter 7. "To Sit at Home and Do Nothing": Gender and the Constitutive Meaning of Work --
Chapter 8. Consuming Politics: Wal-Mart, the New Terrain of Belonging and the Endurance of Abasebenzi.
Series Title: Rethinking international development series.
Responsibility: by Bridget Kenny.

Abstract:

This book argues that we need to focus attention on the ways that workers themselves have invested subjectively in what it means to be a worker. By doing so, we gain an explanation that moves us beyond the economic decisions made by actors, the institutional constraints faced by trade unions, or the power of the state to interpellate subjects. These more common explanations make workers and their politics visible only as a symptom of external conditions, a response to deregulated markets or a product of state recognition. Instead - through a history of retailing as a site of nation and belonging, changing legal regimes, and articulations of race, class and gender in the constitution of political subjects from the 1930s to present-day Wal-Mart - this book presents the experiences and subjectivities of workers themselves to show that the collective political subject 'workers' (abasebenzi) is both a durable and malleable political category. From white to black women's labour, the forms of precariousness have changed within retailing in South Africa. Workers' struggles in different times have in turn resolved some dilemmas and by other turn generated new categories and conditions of precariousness, all the while explaining enduring attachments to labour politics.

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"Retail Worker Politics, Race and Consumption in South Africa offers searing insight into the contested world of retail work and labour politics over the past century in South Africa. ... Given the Read more...

 
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