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Waged entrepreneurs, policed informality: work, the regulation of space and the economy of the Zimbabwean-South African border

Bolt, Maxim (2012) Waged entrepreneurs, policed informality: work, the regulation of space and the economy of the Zimbabwean-South African border. Africa: the Journal of the International African Institute, 82 (01). pp. 111-130. ISSN 0001-9720

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Abstract

Keen to show the fluidity of border areas, and the limits of state control, much anthropological scholarship on borders highlights arrangements, activities and opportunities that pass beneath the official radar. But while such a clandestine focus casts border dwellers as preoccupied with resisting state regulation, this article shows how Zimbabwean–South African border dwellers make the most of their location by being visible to state officials, as waged farm workers. They seek agricultural jobs as a foothold in building lucrative businesses. Moreover, waged farm workforces are hubs of border trade, as workers remit goods for resale as a response to the crisis at home in Zimbabwe. The article therefore questions the wider theoretical opposition between the creative entrepreneurship of the informal economy and the drudgery of formal employment. Formal and informal modes of livelihood constitute one another, intersect and are interdependent. This article unpacks the spatial and temporal articulations between waged work and other means of making ends meet. In so doing, it suggests fixating less on the border itself as a distinctive feature, replete with smugglers and murky goings-on, and appreciating the various meanings of work in borderland economies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJourna...
Additional Information: © 2012 International African Institute
Library of Congress subject classification: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
Sets: Departments > Anthropology
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2012 16:44
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/42052/

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