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Mothers, Extraordinary Labor, and Amacasual: Law and Politics of Nonstandard Employment in the South African Retail Sector

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Abstract:

This article examines changing social meaning embodying legal categories of nonstandard employment within South African retailing between the 1950s and the postapartheid period. Using archival and interview material, the article shows how trade unions constructed part-time and casual employment through gendered, class, and racial meanings to produce two very different legal categories. Black workers’ rights claims in the 1980s developed within these changing socio-legal parameters. The image of the full-time permanent worker became political agent, and in the postapartheid period, increasing numbers of casual workers became marginalized from the union. The relationship between rights and regulation gives us a more complex way of understanding worker politics.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9930.2009.00298.x

Affiliations: Sociology Department, University of the Witwatersrand

Publication date: 2009-07-01

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