Unemployment and 'informal' income-earning activity in Soweto. Part I

Matsetela, T.
Matshoba, M
Webster, D
Wilkinson, P.
Yawitchj, J.
Zarenda, H.
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The papers have been collected into two parts under the titles ‘Production’ (Part I) and ‘Reproduction’ (Part II). A third contribution- a fictionalized account of some of the activities of what has been labelled the ‘lumpenproletariat’ - will be circulated to those who express an interest, more for their enjoyment than for discussion. The rationale underlying the necessarily rather simplistic division of the papers is, in large part, related to our general dissatisfaction with existing modes of analysis of the so-called ‘informal sector’. With very few exceptions, the existing studies have tended to restrict their object of investigation to an essentially static analysis of the economic content - operations of production and exchange and patterns of distribution of profits or products associated with them - of the activities which the 'informal sector' is held to subsume. Table I provides a fairly conventional typology of the various activities that would normally be regarded as falling within the 'informal' category under South African conditions. It is our contention that, by narrowing their focus in this way, such studies have generally either taken as given, or altogether overlooked, the social conditions of existence of these activities. We would further argue that no adequate explanation of the nature and significance of 'informal' activity, however it is to be distinguished, is possible if this omission or neglect is not directly confronted.
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented July 1980
Unemployment. South Africa. Soweto , Informal sector (Economics). South Africa. Soweto , Soweto (South Africa). Economic conditions