“A book of this calibre recasts how we think about what has been happening in South Africa. Hart has conjured an exceptional work that might just help the left begin figuring out how to stop spinning its wheels.”
—Hein Marais, author of South Africa Pushed to the Limit: The Political Economy of Change
"Hart's text is extremely important and courageous in the context of South Africa's fiercely contested political discourse. Hart steps in front to contest exisiting understandings of the state, racial geographies, crisis, hegemony, and transition. Her attempt to challenge what exists is not only an academic intervention but also grounded in deep normative concerns about the trajectory of South African politics. . . . Hart's contribution is a welcome addition to the ongoing challenge to make sense of the complicated field of South African politics."
“Gillian Hart offers a defining challenge to our understanding of the contemporary crisis in South Africa. This book raises the bar in scholarly and political debate, and is a long-awaited sequel to Disabling Globalization.”
—Ari Sitas, professor of sociology at the University of Cape Town, author of The Mandela Decade 1990–2000: Labour, Culture and Society in Post-Apartheid South Africa
"Rethinking the South African Crisis provides an insightful and much-needed deconstructive lens for interpreting the increasing socioeconomic disparity in post [-] apartheid South Africa. . . . [Hart] deftly integrates nuanced critical understandings to rethink the present crisis . . . It is precisely her intimate knowledge, involvement, and investments in these places that lend a personalized touch often missing in academic projects."
—Dave Knieter, Social & Cultural Geography
"Gillian Hart brings a geographer’s mind and an expatriate’s eye to the insightful and persuasive argument laid out in Rethinking the South African Crisis. . . . [The] book is as much an intellectual history as it is an explanation of political trends and events. . . . [It] should be read by anyone interested in contemporary South Africa, of whatever discipline, profession, or ideological leaning. One might also hope it will make its way onto the office desks or e-readers of the South African political elite."
—Belinda Dodson, Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies
Since the end of apartheid, South Africa has become an extreme yet unexceptional embodiment of forces at play in many other regions of the world: intensifying inequality alongside “wageless life,” proliferating forms of protest and populist politics that move in different directions, and official efforts at containment ranging from liberal interventions targeting specific populations to increasingly common police brutality.
Rethinking the South African Crisis revisits long-standing debates to shed new light on the transition from apartheid. Drawing on nearly twenty years of ethnographic research, Hart argues that local government has become the key site of contradictions. Local practices, conflicts, and struggles in the arenas of everyday life feed into and are shaped by simultaneous processes of de-nationalization and re-nationalization. Together they are key to understanding the erosion of African National Congress hegemony and the proliferation of populist politics.
This book provides an innovative analysis of the ongoing, unstable, and unresolved crisis in South Africa today. It also suggests how Antonio Gramsci’s concept of passive revolution, adapted and translated for present circumstances with the help of philosopher and liberation activist Frantz Fanon, can do useful analytical and political work in South Africa and beyond.
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