Identity construction: the case of African women workers in South Africa, 1989-1994

Leroke, Windsor
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Identity is not a social entity. It is not embodied in a social individual, or social institutions. It is not, further, inscribed on the space of language. That is, language does not create or even contain identity. In this sense, in the absence of the stability of identity in any social form and representation, the question of the social status of identity is raised with a critical awareness that cautions us against any hasty assertion of the reality of identity. These propositions emerge from the research that I have been conducting on the question of the formation of identity among a group of African women workers in the Retail sector. These women live in the nearby African townships of Johannesburg. The majority of them are active members of the dominant trade union in the retail sector, South African Commercial and Catering Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU). The study explores the question of identity formation in their lives, with respect to two significant social spaces, the workplace and vicinity. These are the social spaces within which their lives emerge and are located. Their lives are dispersed within these social spaces.
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented 7 August 1995
Women, Black. Employment. South Africa. Johannesburg , Identity (Psychology). Social aspects. South Africa. Johannesburg