Answer to Question #194973 in Sociology for Habakak

Question #194973

1)What theories/paradigms can one make reference to of the reading of Burawoy about race, class and colonialism?

2)In one page provide detailed examples from the reading of Burawoy on how othering discourses manifests in that divides people into 'us' and 'them' in context of South Africa?

Expert's answer

  1.Critical race theories

2.Colonialism theory

3.Race relations theories

Racism; according to Burawoy there was great racism in South Africa where black people were discriminated by the whites. The black people provided cheap labour power to improve the capitalist interests of the whites who had more political power than the black people (Burawoy, 1981: 320). Labour relations during apartheid, the Afrikaner government improved their economic needs through creating and supervising means of production. The black people were confined to poorly paid and sometimes jobs were unpredictable this discoursed manifest of black people economically and politically as whites considered them inferior.

Othering brought obstacles against interracial sexual and marriages as the whites discriminated black people and they feared that those relations may render white race impure. Bessie Head is an example of author who suffered immorality of othering system, she faced recurrent hardships and constant rejection as  per the period she was born, restrictions was high, being born to a white mother and black father.  According Burawoy (324) the whites being powerful over the black people they controlled their population growth in cities and massive relocation of black people from both urban and rural areas which was invaded by whites this created a big gap on social and economic differences between the whites and blacks hence leaving black people landless and sharpening poverty levels of them.

Othering led to separation of families as male migrants were busy working in whites’ farms leaving the other family members home and this adversely affected social relations of the families of black people (Burawoy, 1981: 320). Since they were squatters, they had no enough land to cultivate food this forced them to go to whites farms to search for work to sustain their families at home. Absence of the father figure in the families of black people divorced them from the role of upbringing children, especially sons who were growing in a violent spaces since the role was left to the mothers only who sometimes experienced difficulties in raising male children.


Burawoy, M. (1981) “The Capitalist State in South Africa: Marxist and Sociological Perspectives on Race and Class.” Political Power and Social Theory. Vol. 2, pp. 279-335.

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