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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Beyond the Frontier of Control: Trade Unionism and the Labour Market in the Durban Docks
Author:Hemson, David
Year:1996
Periodical:Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa
Issue:30
Pages:83-114
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:dockworkers
trade unions
Labor and Employment
Economics and Trade
Urbanization and Migration
Link:http://digital.lib.msu.edu/projects/africanjournals/html/itemdetail.cfm?recordID=640
Abstract:Focusing on the Durban docks, this article deals with theories of trade union incorporation and perspectives for corporatism in South Africa. The history of the dockers from the 1980s to the present not only raises questions of consciousness and agency, but also questions of current debate over the possibilities for corporatism, a strategic truce between employers and unions, and a reform of the actual conditions of life and work for some of the most strategically placed workers in the country. It is argued that the agency of the working class is hemmed in by the material conditions of life which are increasingly articulated with the conditions of globalization, but not negated. The much discussed question of corporatism, of a degree of unity of outlook of the labour movement and employers, is examined in the concrete conditions of competition and collective bargaining. The position of the dockworkers gives some indication of the depth to which political advances are having socioeconomic effects, and the practical impulse of the discourse of corporatism currently in vogue. The drama of the organization of dockworkers throws a beam of light on the general processes at work in the emergence of a 'new South Africa' in both industry and politics. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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