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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:New Regional Imaginaries in Post-Apartheid Southern Africa: Retail Workers at a Shopping Mall in Zambia
Author:Miller, Darlene
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies
Geographic terms:South Africa
Subjects:retail trade
multinational enterprises
working conditions
Labor and Employment
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
Abstract:In contrast to the dominant depictions of African stagnation amongst 'Afro-pessimistic' scholars, South African regional (and retail) multinationals are dynamic agents of regional transformation and new regional contradictions. This article is about the regional claims of workers at the foreign branches of Shoprite, a South African retail multinational. The Manda Hill branch of Shoprite in Zambia is the case study for this analysis. The context of these workplace studies is postapartheid southern Africa, where investment by South African companies is expanding. This retail sector investment follows the model of shopping centre development, where Shoprite's food supermarket is the anchor store for these new malls. The author argues that a new regional moment is shaping the workplace experiences of African workers. The Shoprite workplace is an important agent of a new regional imagination amongst these retail workers. Workers claim inclusion into the regional company on an equal basis with South African workers privileging their ties to South Africa through the company. The South African reference point in workers' claims is interpreted here as a regional claim. The high social visibility of shopping malls and new, South African-owned sites of consumption drive a complex regionalism, where different social forces claim the new region in competing ways. The new regional moment opening up in postapartheid southern Africa has created a dynamic set of contradictions between the self-representation of Shoprite and the regional expectations of workers at these foreign workplaces. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]