After apartheid: contradictory consciousness among white South African immigrants to Canada

deGelder, Mettje Christine (2004) After apartheid: contradictory consciousness among white South African immigrants to Canada. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

In 1994 South Africa's racist apartheid policies, implemented since 1948 by the Afrikaner National Party, were officially dismantled and a new democratic government, led by the African National Congress, was established in its place. The events leading up to this transition, as well as its consequences, have generated an out-migration movement on the part of white South Africans. The fieldwork that I conducted in southern Ontario focused on the two major transitions that white South African immigrants to Canada, both British and Afrikaner, have experienced: the 1994 political transition in South Africa, and their international migration to and settlement in Canada. In the thesis, I analyze the memories and discourses that informants produced concerning these two transitions. Drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu (1977), Antonio Gramsci (1971), and Michel Foucault (1977, 1980), I demonstrate how the hegemony of apartheid shaped the lives of white South Africans. However, their stories are also indicative of a contradictory consciousness in light of apartheid oppression and its continued legacy in South Africa, generating counter-discourses that seek to oppose apartheid logic (Gramsci 1971). Pan I of the thesis, entitled 'White South African Experiences of Transition,' examines informants' memories of having grown up with nonwhite servants, as well as their privileged status as adult employers of nonwhite servants. I then consider discourses of subjectivity and violence concerning South Africa, as they were experienced both during apartheid and in the post-apartheid years. Such discourses work productively to justify informants' choice to emigrate from South Africa. My final chapter in Part I focuses on Afrikaner migrants' memories of the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa; a Calvinist Christian denomination that has come to be criticized for its segregationist role during apartheid. I engage with academic descriptions of Afrikaner religious life through a discussion of Afrikaner political awareness and involvement during and after apartheid. In Part n of the thesis, I draw on feminist and life story approaches in anthropology and related disciplines, analyzing 'The Stories of Two British South African Migrant Women' (Moore 1988, Leydesdorff, Passerini and Thompson 1996). The thesis contributes to an understanding of both the dominance and subjectivity inherent in the notion of whiteness (Frankenberg 1997, Hartigan Jr.1997).

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/10388
Item ID: 10388
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 345-359.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Anthropology
Date: 2004
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada; South Africa
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Afrikaners--Canada--Attitudes; Apartheid--Social aspects--South Africa; South Africans--Canada--Attitudes.

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