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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Urban ethnology in Africa: some theoretical issues
Authors:Mariotti, A.
Magubane, B.ISNI
Book title:Toward a Marxist anthropology: problems and perspectives
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:urban society
urban anthropology
Abstract:The study of the city and of the social processes unleashed in the form of urbanization raises fundamental questions about the colonial legacy in Africa. What was the nature of the colonial state? For whose benefit did commerce and industry invade Africa, and what were the implications of this invasion for African industrialization? The trajectory of colonial development in Africa was extractive capitalism which created urban complexes exemplified in the Katanga region of the Congo, the copper belt of Zambia, and the Witwatersrand of the Transvaal in South Africa. African urbanization occurred as a particular form of labour migration, the use of which led to the most advanced deracination and proletarianization, but without corrsponding industrialization to meet the future need for jobs when mineral production became exhausted or unprofitable. The towns and cities were abstracted from their environment and were more organically and closely related to the metropolitan countries than to their own hinterland. Precisely by dwelling exclusively on the facts derived from small-scale studies, urban anthropologists have blinded themselves to this imperialist context of African problems of urbanization. Notes, ref.