£50.00 | $90.95
1 September 2001
Anthropology, Development, Africa
Working on the Margins
Black Workers, White Farmers in Postcolonial Zimbabwe
Working on the Margins explores the outer margins of postcolonial culture, state and economy, where the legacy of white settler modernity still dominates the everyday lives of a largely neglected population. For the first time, the more than two million people who live and work on predominantly white-owned commercial farms in Zimbabwe - almost a fifth of the national population - are the main subjects of an ethnographic analysis, tracing their lives from the colonial past to the postcolonial present. Without demonizing white farmers or romanticizing farm workers, the fieldwork-rich analysis focuses on the flue-cured tobacco farms which produce Zimbabwe's number one export.
Through the lens of a critical anthropology, internationally significant and nationally volatile topics such as the land question in Zimbabwe, rural development, and labour exploitation are insightfully re-thought through a nuanced cultural analysis of the socially differentiated lives of black men and women farm workers, their families, and their bosses, white Zimbabwean farmers in Hurungwe district, in north, northwestern Zimbabwe. The theoretical approach builds centrally on Foucault's concept of
'Rutherford's book is an excellent analysis of the complex political relations that have been faced by farm workers. It is a theoretically sophisticated and nuanced study of the problem, which stands almost alone in this area of study. The book is essential reading for an understanding of the politics of land in Zimbabwe.' - Brian Raftopoulos, University of Zimbabwe, in Journal of African History
'For Zimbabwe, Blair Rutherford's Working on the Margins is arguably the most important - and most courageous - book published in the last ten years. Rutherford takes as his subjects the workers on white owned commercial farms. Neither scholars nor policy-makers have devoted very much attention to this category of people...A seminal publication.' - Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, September 2005
Table of Contents
points of struggle
About the Author:
Blair Rutherford is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Regina, Canada. He has carried out research among commercial farm workers in Zimbabwe since 1992. He is currently examining how initiatives by non-governmental organizations and trade unions directed towards farm workers are interacting with the varied power relations, social practices, and social projects on commercial farms. He has written and co-written a number of articles in academic journals (such as Journal of Southern African Studies, Critique of Anthropology, American Ethnologist, and Review of African Political Economy) and magazines (including Southern Africa Report and Cultural Survival Quarterly). His research interests include political processes, the anthropology of international development, witchcraft, social identities, and
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