n English in Africa - Three texts and the moral economy of race in South Africa, c.1890-1910

Volume 39, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



In the years since the Second World War, most attempts at explaining manifestations of racism have hinged on the trope of displacement intrinsic to the concept of "ideology." What is posited is a historical process in which social groups rationalize their pursuit of advantage by displacing it onto contiguous, justificatory discourses. While gesturing towards the origins of racism in pre-modern, rigidly stratified forms of social organization, such a narrative emphasizes the modernity of the phenomenon as it is generally understood today by construing it as a product of the competition for advantage - power, status, authority, material well-being - in a (world) system which is based on such competition, capitalism.

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