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Sociology: News


Announcing publication of 'The Racialising Process'

by Prof Liz Stanley, principal on the Whites Writing Whiteness Project

The Racialising Process: Whites Writing Whiteness in Letters, South Africa 1770s-1970s

By Liz Stanley

ISBN 9781511403648 - 282pp  - 2017


Racialising Process book cover

The paperback is available from Amazon (where you can 'look inside' before purchasing) at £5.99. An e-book version is available at 0.99p.


About the book

The Racialising Process explores how white people from the 1770s to the 1970s in South Africa depicted whiteness and its racialised Others of black, coloured, Indian Chinese and other groups, focusing on their letters. It discusses many detailed examples drawn from a wide array of letters and explores the complexities in what people wrote and how to interpret this. It shows that there has been a long term racialising process with distinctive features organised around regulation and categorisation, making the South African experience significantly different from the ‘de/civilising process’ that the sociologist Norbert Elias identified in Europe.

The Racialising Process is concerned with how it happened that South Africa developed the racial order that it did and how this changed over time. It is concerned with analysing and theorising letters, over 50,000 letters, and using this to show the importance of letter-writing for understanding how white people saw and represented their lives and Other people ‘back then’. And it is also concerned with engaging with, and where needed departing from, the theoretical and methodological ideas put forward by Elias about change in Europe and making these work as a way of thinking about South Africa and its racialising process.


Book Contents


Chapter 1. Whites Writing, Letters & Social Change

Chapter 2. Doing the Archival Research: Groundwork, Regarding Paton, Shepstone & Nomalanga’s Baby

Chapter 3. Figurational Analysis: On the LMS, Findlay, Price, Rhodes & Other Collections

Chapter 4. Traces Remaining: Anna’s Indentures, the Hemmings & Nannie, & Mark Pringle’s Diary

Chapter 5. On Categories: Gottlob Schreiner & ‘the Hand of the Lord’, CR Prance & ‘Inferior Blood’

Chapter 6. Events, Including Soweto, Marikana & the Lovedale Riot

Chapter 7. Rough Workings: Scribblings, Including Bessie Price’s Wagon Wheel & a Panikin Filled to the Brim

Chapter 8. Theorising Letters, Including About ‘the Boy’, ‘the Coolie’ & the ‘N Word’

Chapter 9. Regulation, the Contract & the Pass: ‘The Bearers 2 Kafirs With Parcels’

Chapter 10. Analysing the Racialising Process