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UKZN Press

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Introducing Rethinking the South African Crisis: Nationalism, Populism, Hegemony by Gillian Hart

Rethinking the South African CrisisForthcoming from UKZN Press, Rethinking the South African Crisis: Nationalism, Populism, Hegemony by Gillian Hart:

Since the end of apartheid, South Africa has become an extreme but not exceptional embodiment of forces at play in many other regions of the world: intensifying inequality alongside ‘wageless life’; proliferating forms of protest and populist politics that move in different directions; and official efforts at containment ranging from liberal interventions targeting specific populations to increasingly common police brutality.

Rethinking the South African Crisis revisits longstanding debates to shed new light on the transition from apartheid. Drawing on nearly twenty years of ethnographic research, Hart argues that local government has become the key site of contradictions. Local practices, conflicts and struggles in the arenas of everyday life feed into and are shaped by simultaneous processes of de-nationalisation and re-nationalisation. Together they are key to understanding the erosion of ANC hegemony, and the proliferation of populist politics.

This book provides an innovative dialectical analysis of the ongoing, unstable and unresolved crisis in South Africa today. It also suggests how Gramsci’s concept of passive revolution, adapted and translated for present circumstances with the help of Fanon, can do useful analytical and political work in South Africa and beyond.

“Gillian Hart offers a defining challenge to our understanding of the contemporary crisis in South Africa. This book raises the bar in scholarly and political debate, and is a long-awaited sequel to Disabling Globalization.”

— Ari Sitas, Professor of Sociology at the University of Cape Town, author of The Mandela Decade 1990–2000

“A book of this calibre recasts how we think about what has been happening in South Africa. Hart has conjured an exceptional work that might just help the left begin figuring out how to stop spinning its wheels.”

— Hein Marais, author of South Africa Pushed to the Limit

About the author

Gillian Hart is Professor of Geography and Co-Chair of Development Studies, University of California, Berkeley, and Honorary Professor, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She is the author of Disabling Globalization: Places of Power in Post-Apartheid South Africa (2002) and co-editor of Gramsci: Space, Nature, Politics (2013).

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