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The Triumph of Marxist Approaches in South African Social and Labour History

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Marxism has evolved as the dominant intellectual perspective in South Africa, replacing South African liberalism, because liberalism has failed to acknowledge the connection between capitalism and apartheid. But the emergent Marxist paradigm was divided into two distinct poles: the "structuralists" and the "social historians." The tension between these two alternative perspectives has pervaded a number of sub-fields, including studies of rural relations, labour and social movements, and class and culture. The works of Charles Van Onselen and Belinda Bozzoli are treated in considerable detail because they represent the "social historical" perspective. Both the "structuralist" and "social historical" variants are analyzed in terms of their historical methods.

Affiliations: 1: State University of New York, Binghamton, U. S. A.


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