Practising Empowerment in Post-Apartheid South Africa

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Despite the promise and optimism surrounding the post-apartheid transition, South African society continues to be highly racialised in its discourses, identities and practices, even within the very strategies that aim to change power relations and heal racialised divisions. Renowned for its brutal past practices, the wine industry in South Africa has long been associated with white power and black exploitation, and remains dogged by continuing allegations of poor working conditions and labour abuses. Through in-depth, longitudinal fieldwork, this book considers how different ethics interact and draws attention to the positive changes and continuing development challenges faced in South Africa. Situating practice at its heart, it brings a novel, everyday and micro-scale dimension to understandings of empowerment in the post-apartheid South African wine industry. It develops a critical analysis of the interplay between practice, as scaled and inherently spatial, and discourse to conceptualise how ‘big’ concepts such as empowerment are articulated, materialised and experienced at the ground level. Through this, it gives voices to the marginalised who experience ’empowerment’, setting these within the context of their relations with the other stakeholders who shape this engagement. This book contributes to broader critical social science debates around ethical development and questions of power and empowerment in development interventions. This is critical to reducing the disconnection between policy aims and realities within development and empowerment initiatives, as well as enabling (ethical) commodities to be strategic in retaining their appeal throughout their networks.

Table of contents

Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Table of Contents
List of illustrations
List of abbreviations
1. Introduction: Conceptualising power, practice and empowerment through South Africa
2. The South African wine industry: Conflict and continuity
3. Local practices of empowerment in South Africa’s wine industry: Difference and dilemmas
4. Practising empowerment as development in South African Fairtrade
5. Strategic practices: Interactive relations and the role of the market in ethical trade
6. Whose empowerment?: Materiality and the marginalised in the South African wine industry
7. Conclusions: Practising empowerment and empowering practices in South Africa

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