Migration and National Identity in South Africa, 1860-2010 by Professor Audie Klotz

By Professor Audie Klotz

A unprecedented outbreak of xenophobic violence in may perhaps 2008 stunned South Africa, yet hostility towards beginners has a protracted historical past. Democratization has channeled such discontent right into a non-racial nationalism that particularly goals overseas Africans as a hazard to prosperity. discovering compatible governmental and societal responses calls for a greater knowing of the complicated legacies of segregation that underpin present immigration regulations and practices. regrettably, traditional wisdoms of direction dependency advertise over the top fatalism and forget about how a lot South Africa is a customary settler nation. A century in the past, its coverage makers shared leading edge principles with Australia and Canada, and those friends, which now brazenly combat with their very own racist prior, benefit renewed awareness. As unpalatable because the comparability could be to modern advocates of multiculturalism, rethinking regulations in South Africa may also provide classes for reconciling competing claims of indigeneity via a number of degrees of illustration and rights.

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46 Moreover, immigration policy did undergo notable changes, even if not to the same degree of reform as other areas of the economy and society. This mix leaves any direct causal link between public attitudes, electoral politics, and policy outcomes unclear. I find interest group arguments useful, but not in the typical European or North American configurations. A crucial component of liberalizing coalitions elsewhere are rights advocates, who are indeed now a strong presence in South African immigration debates, both within the parliamentary process and as part of the extra-parliamentary public sphere.

In the next section, I argue that postcolonialism 24 Peter Gourevitch, “The Second Image Reversed: The International Sources of Domestic Politics,” International Organization 32 (4), Autumn 1978, 881– 912. For its application to South Africa, see Audie Klotz, “International Causes and Consequences of South Africa’s Democratization,” in Democratizing Foreign Policy? Lessons from South Africa, ed. Janis van der Westhuizen and Philip Nel, pp. 13–21 (Lanham: Lexington, 2004). Historiographies of Migration 25 mischaracterizes the politics of markets and rights, owing to the persistent bifurcation between histories of forced migration by Africans and voluntary white immigration.

This assessment raises tough questions about how to build a broader counterforce against xenophobic violence, but the limited ability of rights-based challengers to create a new path is only one half of my explanation. The other half must be a convincing characterization of the status quo. Which institutions or practices remain in place, despite a new legal order, and why? Noting that immigration reforms were more limited than euphoric Mandela-mania would have expected is insufficient, because it fails to explain why previous policies, based on unacceptable racist premises, could be tolerated by the ruling ANC.

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