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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Anthropology, history, and the making of past and place
Author:James, DeborahISNI
Periodical:African Studies
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:labour migration
Urbanization and Migration
Labor and Employment
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Anthropology and Archaeology
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/00020189708707871
Abstract:The unequal, but changing, relationship between anthropology and history in the context of southern African studies, and the differing effects of the 'struggle agenda' on the two disciplines, is exemplified in the study of migrant or home-boy associations in South Africa. Rather than seizing the interest of anthropologists in South Africa as it had done elsewhere, this topic became an interest area for social historians instead. The author's own interest in home-boy groups derives from 1989-1992 research into 'kiba', a musical and dance genre of migrant men and women from South Africa's Northern Province. She argues that home-boy groups are a worthy subject of enquiry for contemporary anthropologists, by demonstrating that these groups owe their existence not to some adaptive need conceived of in functionalist terms, but to the creative practice of individual agents who are constantly reinterpreting the significance of home and therefore of the past. A shift in the terms of the anthropology/history relationship is now making it possible for the two disciplines in combination to provide insights into these groups which neither could yield on its own. Bibliogr., notes, ref.