Publisher: African Studies Association

Wage Labor, Precarious Employment, and Social Inclusion In The Making of South Africa'S Postapartheid Transition

Franco Barchiesi
KEYWORDS: Wage Labor, Precarious Employment, and Social Inclusion in the Making of South Africa's Postapartheid Transition


During South Africa's first decade of democracy, policies of social inclusion and social citizenship have emphasized productive employment and the work ethic in a context of fiscal discipline and public spending thrift. The government's institutional discourse contrasts, however, with a social reality in which most black workers have confronted growing economic precariousness and the inability of waged occupations to provide stable livelihoods above poverty levels. The article discusses workers' responses to these conditions with case studies of private and public employment. It finds that official rhetoric about the centrality of productive employment does not reflect the diversity of practices and discourses with which workers address the crisis facing wage labor.

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