The construction of apartheid, 1948-1961

Posel, Deborah
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
What was distinctive about Apartheid in the 1950s,as compared with the 1960s? How was it constructed, and how did it change? Much of the academic and journalistic literature on Apartheid pre-'reform' depicts it as the product of a single, long-term 'grand plan', pursued systematically and unfalteringly by the National Party (NP) since its accession to power in 1948. Such views are challenged in this paper, which argues that although the Apartheid state has certainly been characterised by a singular degree of co-ordination, planning and coercion, the construction of Apartheid has not been a wholly linear, systematic or monolithic project. The state's uncertainties, conflicts, weaknesses, changes and failures, although far less visible than its cohesiveness and triumphs, have also made their mark on the construction of Apartheid. Moreover, some (but obviously not all) of the premises and objectives of Apartheid changed in fundamental ways at the onset of the 1960s. (The presentation of these arguments is very brief and schematic, being a summary of large chunks of my doctoral thesis.)
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented August 1988
Apartheid. South Africa , South Africa. Politics and government , South Africa. Race relations