This is the first ethnographic analysis, from the colonial past to the postcolonial present, of those who live and work on predominantly white-owned commercial farms in Zimbabwe - almost a fifth of the national population. The land question, rural development and labour exploitation are re-thought through a nuanced cultural analysis of the lives of farm workers, their families and their white bosses.
Building on Foucault's concept of 'government', the book addresses the arrangements of power, points of struggle and strategies of accumulation on commercial farms and nearby communal lands. The author suggestively analyses the historical and current dimensions of the marginalization of farm workers through state administrative practices of development and farm-based forms of authority, farmer paternalism and newly invented patriarchy, and locates strategies for amending traditions of domestic government within existing social practices and social identities.
Blair Rutherford is assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Regina, Canada. He has carried out research among commercial farm workers in Zimbabwe since 1992. He has written and co-written a number of articles in academic journals (including the Journal of Southern African Studies, Critique of Anthropology, American Ethnologist, and Review of African Political Economy) and magazines (including Southern Africa Report and Cultural Survival Quarterly).
1. Re-Presenting Commerical Farm Workers in Zimbabwe 2. Development and the Space of (European) Commercial Farms 1940s-1990s 3. White Farmers in Rural Hurungwe 4. Working on the Margins 5. The Margins of the Margins: Women's Work 6. The Farm Compound: Work's Domestic Space 7. Becoming a 'Peasant' 8. The Limits of Official Edification