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Working in the "New South Africa" : an ethnographic approach to affirmative action


Working in the "New South Africa" : an ethnographic approach to affirmative action

Romano, Maja (2007) Working in the "New South Africa" : an ethnographic approach to affirmative action. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

Text (application/pdf)
MR34769.pdf - Accepted Version


Barely a generation since the abolition of apartheid, South Africa is still struggling with the transition toward racial integration. In 1998, the Employment Equity Act was introduced to assist with this process. However, while affirmative action policies are attempting to redress the nation's long history of racial discrimination, reactions to their implementation have been mixed. Although many South Africans claim to be in favour of affirmative action, the policies are nonetheless generating a considerable amount of criticism. As such, efforts to integrate the country's previously disadvantaged individuals into the labour force have been met with both practical and ideological barriers from various sectors of society. Following six months of fieldwork in Johannesburg, this thesis is an ethnographic examination of how policies for affirmative action in South Africa are affecting people's negotiations of "race" in the workplace and beyond. Specifically, it seeks to question the incongruency between what is intended "on paper" and how it is interpreted "on the ground". It considers the impact of equity codes on people from "designated groups", who are the intended recipients, as well as those that are not directly included in the policies but are nonetheless affected by them. Through the narratives of the various participants, this study attempts to move away from the statistical analyses that have dominated the media and adopt instead an ethnographic approach supported by historical, political, economic and social contextualization. In turn, the responses to affirmative action policies reflect the complexity behind the construction of race in South Africa today.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Sociology and Anthropology
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Romano, Maja
Pagination:vii, 146 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Sociology and Anthropology
Thesis Supervisor(s):Amit, Vered
ID Code:975568
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:10
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:40
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