African advancement under apartheid

Crankshaw, Owen
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At the end of the 1960s, after South African capitalism had experienced a decade of unprecedented economic growth, scholars were deeply divided over the impact of this economic growth on racial inequality. Although the deepest differences were between liberal scholars who argued that economic growth would erode racial inequality and revisionists who argued the converse, there was little agreement even among revisionists on the extent and pattern of changes to the racial division of labour in South Africa. I shall argue that the reasons for the different estimates of the extent and pattern of African advancement are due to the limitations inherent in neo-Marxist theories of class and of the sources of data used by revisionists. To provide a reliable estimate of the extent and pattern of African advancement that overcomes some of these limitations, I have relied on a somewhat eclectic classification scheme that incorporates insights from labour process theory and Weberian class theory. Following the example of Simkins and Hindson, I turned to the Manpower Survey data instead of the Population Census because it provides a more detailed occupational classification and time series. The results of my analysis are restricted to the formal urban workforce. Following earlier analyses of African advancement, this study does not deal with the question of African unemployment. Although an analysis of unemployment would greatly enrich this study, there are no data which provide an occupational breakdown of the unemployed population. A study of the inequalities caused by unemployment therefore has to be conducted through an analysis of trends in wages and income which I have dealt with elsewhere.
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented 16 October, 1995