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Publication Details

Bhengu, Sithembiso (2006) Exploring interlocking linkages of wage labour to livelihoods Beyond the rural-urban divide. Centre for Civil Society Colloquium on the Economy, Society and Nature: 1-14.

This paper attempts to argue that wage labour, urbanisation, rural settlement, land and livelihoods are inextricably linked, and highlights weaknesses of social and, or sociological analysis that seeks to dichotomise, separate and use binaries in its analysis. The paper will argue that research and thinking on work and labour markets in South Africa should always analyse rural-urban as a connected unit. This paper criticises modern social science which uses binaries as analytical tools, highlight Castells (1996) time versus space, space of flows versus space of places thesis and Mamdani (1996) direct-indirect (traditional) rule, rural-countryside analysis of bifurcated state in post-colonial Africa. Through the work of Lefebvre, Massey, Hart and Sitas the paper argues further research and analysis should jettison these binaries, present in the dominant discourse in government and policy makers, e.g. municipal policy which separate rural fro urban planning as well as first economy-second economy discourse. This paper asserts because of the histories of dispossession, proletarianisation and migrant labour, today a stable wage income of working men in Dunlop enhances livelihood networks across rural-urban spread to mobilize livelihood opportunities. The loss of this wage security hampers alternative livelihoods in networks, resulting in vulnerability of affected household, as a result affecting social reproduction working class.

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