Accepted paper:

Surplus populations in the Northern Cape Karoo, South Africa

Authors:

Michela Marcatelli (Stellenbosch University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper will discuss the continuous production of surplus populations in South Africa, with a specific focus on the Northern Cape Karoo. It will do so by looking at processes of accumulation and social reproduction within the context of sustainable development initiatives.

Paper long abstract:

This paper will discuss the continuous production of surplus populations as a crucial dynamic of rural and agrarian change in post-apartheid South Africa. In my presentation, I will focus on elements of continuity and change between the forced removal of surplus people during apartheid and farm evictions in the post-apartheid order, by looking particularly at the Karoo region as a prime site of sustainable development initiatives. I intend in fact to consider surplus populations in relation to major land-use changes, such as astronomy, private nature conservation, and renewable energy production, which are highly visible in the Karoo. As an exploratory paper, it will aim at identifying key issues around the intertwined concepts of accumulation and social reproduction. For instance, to what extent and how are surplus people instrumental in sustaining accumulation and, on the other hand, how does social reproduction change for those (mainly ex-farm workers and dwellers) living on the margins of small rural towns?

panel Soc02
New surplus populations in Africa: ruptures and continuities in rural transitions