Combining richly detailed empirical research on transnational connections with bold and imaginative theoretical argument, this innovative study offers fresh critical understandings of globalization and unique insights into post-apartheid South Africa. Based on research conducted between 1994 and 2001, Gillian Hart traces political dynamics in two former white towns and adjacent black townships in the province of KwaZulu-Natal that are major sites of Taiwanese investment. Focusing on East Asian connections with these places, and on histories and memories of racialized dispossession, she highlights the fragility of the neoliberal project in post-apartheid South Africa. She also suggests how rethinking the "land question" in terms of a social wage could connect a variety of ongoing struggles. Hart provides a clear sense of how and why both popular and academic discourses of globalization are so deeply disabling. Readers will come away with more politically empowering understandings of social change in an increasingly interconnected world.
Gillian Hart is Professor of Geography at the University of California, Berkeley, and coeditor of Agrarian Transformations: Local Processes and the State in Southeast Asia (California, 1989).
"An unequivocally excellent work of scholarship that makes significant theoretical and empirical contributions to the understanding of 'globalization' and the working of contemporary neo-liberal capitalism. Hart is especially innovative in placing the study of Taiwanese industrialists in South Africa in relation to both the agrarian history of Taiwan and China, and the way that Taiwanese overseas firms have operated in places other than South Africa. It is a very rare combination of talents and knowledge that makes such a study possible."—James Ferguson, author of Expectations of Modernity
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