The South African townships: social crisis and state policy

Helliker, Kirk David (1984) The South African townships: social crisis and state policy. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

This thesis focuses on recent developments in the Black residential areas or townships in the urban areas of White South Africa. More than anything else, these developments are marked by crisis and by attempts on the part of those in power to deal with crisis. During the past decade there has been an intensification of political struggle by township residents. Important here was the 1976-7 ‘Soweto Revolt’, in which thousands of residents literally took to the streets on an unprecedented scale to express their anger with apartheid and to mobilise against it. This immersed the townships and their administration in a deep crisis. It also highlighted underlying economic problems for residents. To counteract this, there has been a rethinking and reworking of existing, township policies. The major force behind this has been big business. The new policies involve continuing repression and racial domination, but also a process of reform and deracialisation. The official intention is to defuse the struggles of residents by co-opting them within a framework of liberal capitalism. But there are many limitations to the successful implementation of this ‘new deal’. These include resistance from conservative Whites, the ongoing struggles of urban Blacks, and policy contradictions. It is argued that crisis in the townships is likely to continue throughout the 1980s. -- All this is situated within a wider empirical and theoretical context through discussions of the political economy of contemporary South Africa and the recent debate within South African studies about economy and society. In both cases, certain unresolved issues are raised which are then taken up in the conclusion to the thesis. It is argued that reform is indeed a significant process in South Africa requiring sustained inquiry. And it is shown that a sensitivity to human volition in social change, and in particular to the agency, consciousness and interests of state officials within the realm of state theory, is important.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5954
Item ID: 5954
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 241-254.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: 1984
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: South Africa
Library of Congress Subject Heading: South Africa--Politics and government; South Africa--Economic conditions; South Africa--Race relations

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