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Do South Africans Exist?: Nationalism, Democracy and the Identity of the People
Foyalty 109

Do South Africans Exist?: Nationalism, Democracy and the Identity of the People (Paperback)

£35.95
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Synopsis

Do South Africans Exist? addresses a gap in contemporary studies of nationalism and the nation, providing a critical study of South African nationalism, against a broader context of African nationalism in general. Narratives of resistance, telling of African peoples oppressed and exploited, presume that 'the people' preceded the period of nationalist struggle. This book explores how an African 'people' came into being in the first place, particularly in the South African context, as a collectivity organised in pursuit of a political, and not simply cultural, end. The author argues that the nation is a political community whose form is given in relation to the pursuit of democracy and freedom, and that if democratic authority is lodged in 'the people', what matters is the way that this 'people' is defined, delimited and produced. He argues that the nation precedes the state, not because it has always existed, but because it emerges in and through the nationalist struggle for state power. Ultimately, he encourages the reader to re-evaluate knee-jerk judgements about the failure of modernity in Africa.

Ivor Chipkin received his PhD from the Ecole Normale Superieure in Cachan, France. He is based at the Human Sciences Research Council, where he works on questions of citizenship, governance and democratization, but also teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. Previously, he was an Oppenheimer Fellow at the University of Oxford and a Senior Associate Member of St-Antony's College at the same university. From 2001 to 2004 he was a researcher at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER).

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