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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Appropriating social citizenship: women's labour, poverty, and entrepreneurship in the Manual Workers Union of Botswana
Author:Werbner, PninaISNI
Periodical:Journal of Southern African Studies (ISSN 1465-3893)
Geographic term:Botswana
Subjects:women workers
economic behaviour
civil service
trade unions
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070.2010.507576
Abstract:Interrogating critiques of the 'African labour aristocracy' thesis, this article proposes that public service industrial-class manual workers in Botswana form, if not a labour 'aristocracy' in the sense first defined by J.S. Saul and G. Arrighi (1963), then a marginal worker 'elite'. They are privileged in having a regular salary above minimum pay, augmented by periodic lump-sum gratuity payments. This sets them apart from the other low-paid workers in the private sector, casual workers in the informal economy and a vast army of unemployed job seekers. In the absence of a national unemployment benefit scheme in Botswana, the article explores some of the strategies deployed by women members of the Manual Workers Union in their attempts to contend with the spectre of future unemployment and impoverishment. In gender terms, the article highlights the independence, autonomy and decisionmaking capacity of women trade unionist leaders, who straddle the worlds of workers' rights and citizens' rights, and manoeuvre their way through the maze of rules and regulations they encounter in both. The article is based on a six-month research project during 2005. Ref., sum. [Journal abstract]