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The Conditions for after Work: Financialization and Informalization in Posttransition South Africa

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020


This essay situates the problem of twenty-first-century work in the global South—specifically, in South Africa—to challenge northern theories of the crisis of work. Addressing the break between Fordism and post-Fordism peculiar to the postcolonial context, it argues that new regimes of work should be understood in relation both to longer histories of colonial resistance to proletarianization (to the racisms of the shop floor) and to colonial Fordisms, as well as to the way these two factors inform the current expansion of informal employment. What practices and forms of life emerge from the precarity of informal economies and informal settlements? How are precarious modes of life connected to and informed by the steady dematerialization of the economy through financialization?

Special Topic: Work Coordinated by Vicky Unruh
Copyright © 2012 by The Modern Language Association of America

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