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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From Ethnography to Social Welfare. Ray Phillips and Representations of Urban Women in South Africa
Author:Berger, IrisISNI
Periodical:Le Fait Missionnaire: Social Sciences and Missions
Geographic term:South Africa
social welfare
social work education
Women's Issues
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Ethnic and Race Relations
Urbanization and Migration
About person:Ray Edmund Phillips (1889-1967)ISNI
External link:https://doi.org/10.1163/221185206X00076
Abstract:One of a small group of American missionaries who arrived in Johannesburg in the turbulent years after World War I, Ray Phillips sought to devise a 'Social Gospel' that would confront the era's crime-ridden slums, political turbulence, strikes and racial tension by awakening white South Africans to the country's social problems and providing Africans with alternatives to the radical messages of 'communist' political activists. Working with other white liberals, these urban missionaries launched projects to foster communication between whites and Africans and to 'moralize' the leisure time of African city dwellers. The negative images of African women in Phillips's early writings reflected widespread attitudes that influenced South African political life in the 1920s and 1930s. Yet Phillips also reflected, and may have contributed to, an important transformation in understanding African urban life that occurred in the late 1930s - a change from what might be called missionary ethnography to a more generalized social science and social policy. Under Phillips's leadership, the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work opened in Johannesburg in January 1941. In keeping with Phillips's apolitical approach, the curriculum of the school was largely practical and moralistic. It had high prestige within the African community, offering one of the few professional opportunities for Africans, male or female. By the late 1950s, the government started transferring black social work training to the apartheid-created African universities, and in 1959 the Jan Hofmeyr School was forced to close. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]