Class in Soweto

By Peter Alexander, Claire Ceruti, Keke Motseke, Mosa Phadi, Kim Wale

The book presents findings and analyses from six years of research on class structure and class identity in Soweto, South Africa's most populous and politically-important township. This is placed within the context of: heightened socio-economic inequalities in nearly all countries around the world; renewed academic interest in class alongside a paucity of literature on the character of class in the global south; and the specific value of a study on South Africa, with its extremes of unemployment, strike action, and ongoing insurrectionary unrest among the urban poor. The book draws on a large, wide-ranging representative survey and extensive qualitative fieldwork. It makes an original contribution to the sociology of class and to the politics of contemporary South Africa. *** "An exemplary study of social class and its ramifications for the lives of people, this book is an all-too-rare example of sociological research that systematically weaves together quantitative and qualitative data with both macro- and micro-analysis. The result is a complex, multidimensional understanding of how class works. It should be read not only by people specifically interested in the dynamics and dilemmas of contemporary South Africa, but by anyone interested in the problem of class in the contemporary world." - Erik Olin Wright, Vilas Distinguished Professor of Sociology, U. of Wisconsin-Madison; President of the American Sociological Assn. *** "Class in Soweto is a pioneering research project which has already resulted in important journal articles and an outstanding documentary film. The team has now gathered their research together into a wonderful book that will transform how we understand social change in contemporary South Africa. Drawing on solid qualitative and quantitative research, the authors challenge prevailing conceptions of stratification. It is especially innovative and important in its analysis of perceptions and languages of class. There is no other book like it on any South African urban area." - Jeremy Seekings, Director: Center for Social Science Research, U. of Cape Town *** "This landmark in urban sociology addresses essential questions about the precise delineation of the huge inequalities marring postapartheid South African life. No one will be able to write about contemporary urban South Africa without addressing its findings and methods. Highly recommended." - Choice, January 2014, Vol. 51, No. 5 *** Featured in 'Outstanding Academic Titles', a prestigious list of publications for the year 2014. - Choice, January 2015, [Subject: Sociology, African Studies, Urban Studies, Politics]


334 pages

Publication Date: 3/15/2013
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781869142209