The Great Depression and shifting boundaries of ‘white work’
in Class, work and whiteness
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Chapter 2 focuses on the Great Depression and examines the concept of poor whiteism from the perspectives of European trade unions and the Rhodesia Labour Party. It makes the case for recognising the dynamism of white worker experience by evidencing that the economic crisis forced the reworking of white workers’ identities and the boundaries of white, male work outlined in Chapter 1. It details the entrance of white women into wage labour and shows that unskilled work, in certain circumstances, was valorised as character building. It also explores how trade unions utilised the symbolism of childhood and youth in their political agitation. In 1934 the colour bar was formalised under the Industrial Conciliation Act. This chapter probes how white workers agitated around this important piece of legislation and argues that the Act failed to fully consolidate white worker loyalty or successfully cauterise their struggles against employers and the state.

Class, work and whiteness

Race and settler colonialism in Southern Rhodesia, 1919–79


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