Paper $39.00 ISBN: 9780745334950 Published July 2014 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada
Cloth $125.00 ISBN: 9780745334967 Published July 2014 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada

The Making of an African Working Class: Politics, Law, and Cultural Protest in the Manual Workers' Union of Botswana

Pnina Werbner

The Making of an African Working Class: Politics, Law, and Cultural Protest in the Manual Workers' Union of Botswana

Pnina Werbner

Distributed for Pluto Press

320 pages | 5.90551 x 9.05512
Paper $39.00 ISBN: 9780745334950 Published July 2014 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada
Cloth $125.00 ISBN: 9780745334967 Published July 2014 For Sale in All Americas and the Caribbean except Canada

It is now 50 years since E.P. Thompson published his classic, The Making of the English Working Class.The Making of an African Working Class follows Thompson in exploring the formation of working class identity among low-paid African workers. In arguing for a radical public anthropology of worker identity, the book seeks to analyse the cultural, legal, ideological and experiential dimensions of labour activism often neglected in other labour studies.

Pnina Werbner shows that by fusing cosmopolitan and local popular cultural forms of protest, unionists have created a distinctive, vernacular way of being a worker in Botswana: one that does not deny workers’ roots at home or in the countryside, while being cognisant of a wider world of cosmopolitan labour rights. The assertion of working class dignity, honour and respect, Pnina argues, is a powerful motivating force for manual workers.

Against legal-sceptical approaches, The Making of an African Working Class argues that in challenging the government - their employer - in court, manual workers’ protests and mobilisation are deeply embedded in ethics, social justice and the law.

Contents

Preface
1. Introduction
2. The Dignity of Labour: Women, Agency and Leadership
3. A Labour Elite? Strategising Women and the Spectre of Unemployment
4. The Kgotla ya Babereki (‘Court’ of the Workers): The Union as Public Forum
5. Legitimate Expections’: Ethics and Labour Justice in the 1991 Strike
6. The Politics of ‘Infiltration’: Factionalism and Party Politics
7. This Land is Our Land: The 2005 Manual Workers Union Grand Tour of Botswana
8. Solidarity Forever: Mobilising the Botswana Trade Union Movement in Prayer and Protest
9. Winning Against the Odds: Speaking Truth to Power and Dilemmas of Charismatic Leadership
10. The ‘Mother of All Strikes’: Vernacular Cosmopolitanism and Popular Culture, 2011
11. The Political and Moral Economy of the Strike
12. Conclusion: Legal Mobilisation, Political Protest and Cosmopolitan Virtue
Concluding Remarks: Class Identity, Dignity and the Agency of Labour in Botswana
Bibliography
Index

Review Quotes
American Anthropologist
"Werbner makes good use of ethnographic vignettes, life histories, and biographies of individual unionists, giving the text an intimate feel despite its broad scope. [This book] represents a major contribution to political and legal anthropology."
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