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‘We are supposed to be the middle class’: Intra-personal responsibilities, hierarchical development projects and union mobilisation on Zambia's Copperbelt

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posted on 2024-04-19, 02:06 authored by Thomas McNamaraThomas McNamara, James Musdona

Abstract: As with many industrial workers, Zambian miners claim a special role in their families, communities and national development policies. Their middle-class identity, built through dangerous and demanding labour, colonial histories and a transition from labour camps to a neoliberal workplace structure, shapes daily practices and through this a narrative of national development. This chapter focuses upon how Zambian miners understand their obligations and entitlements, and through this how they make demands on the state, capital and on themselves. It attempts to combine insights into the uneven status of subjectivities under capitalism with arguments for taking seriously hierarchically embedded personhoods and the promises made to Global South citizens through narratives of ‘development’. However, in doing so, it foregrounds that workers’ greater political significance vis-à-vis the state than capital can inadvertently enable greater claims by the latter.

Funding

The funder for this chapter is University of Liege.

History

Publication Date

2022-06-01

Book Title

The Routledge Handbook of the Anthropology of Labor

Editors

Kasmir S Gill L

Publisher

Routledge

Place of publication

London

Edition

1

Pagination

13p.

ISBN-13

9781003158448

Rights Statement

© The Authors. This is open access under the CC BY-NC-ND license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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