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The inner mechanics of a South African racial massacre

Krikler, J (1999) 'The inner mechanics of a South African racial massacre.' Historical Journal, 42 (4). 1051 - 1075. ISSN 0018-246X

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This study focuses upon a bout of racial killing that occurred on the South African Witwatersrand during a while miners' strike in 1922. By demonstrating that most of the racial victims of the strikers and their supporters were not African miners, or Africans working with the police to suppress the strike, it argues against any easy explanation of the racial killings in narrow terms of class conflict. A more complex account is then offered, one that relies upon close attention to the nature of the victims, the liming and location of the killings, as well as to the rumours that accompanied them. In essence, the article proposes that the murders are to be understood as part of a (subconsciously impelled) process by which many in the striking communities sought to reconstitute the white racial community then sundered by acute class antagonisms. This attempt was made as the strike rolled towards civil war, and on the basis of a putative 'black peril'. Set in a comparative frame, the article closes by reflecting upon the importance in the murders of white workers' sense that their identity had been destabilized by changes in and outside the workplace. © 1999 Cambridge University Press.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2011 14:24
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2019 15:15

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