The Territorial Management of Ethnic Conflict

By John Coakley | Go to book overview

5

South Africa

The Failure of Ethnoterritorial Politics

ANTHONY EGAN and RUPERT TAYLOR

As the spotlight of international interest in ethnic conflict moves from one part of the globe to another in the early part of the twenty-first century, it tends to focus only fleetingly on South Africa. It is easy to forget that as recently as the 1990s South Africa was rarely out of its glare. The struggle for a new democratic political order that then reached its climax had simmered on for decades, with the rulers of the old South African regime having given a new word to the English language: apartheid. 1

Apartheid represented a pernicious system of differentiation and domination; it was a system in which a privileged white minority-representing under a fifth of the total population-held sway over a disenfranchised black majority. For many years, under the old order, the promotion and defence of an ethnoterritorial agenda was central to the white minority rule of the National Party (NP)-first in informing the development of apartheid, then in charting an evolutionary consociational power-sharing reform agenda in the 1980s, and finally in influencing the NP's negotiating position on constitutional structures and mechanisms for a new South Africa. This chapter critically traces these developments, and highlights the circumstances associated with the failure of the National Party's strategy.

At the heart of apartheid thinking was a group-based philosophy of Afrikaner nationalism, rooted in Calvinism and German Romanticism, which viewed South Africa as a deeply divided society in which the existence of different ethnic groups 'was a God-given reality'. 2 As differing ethnic groups were seen to lack common cultural attributes, it was argued that 'separate development' had to be pursued, so as to reduce the potential for ethnic group contact and friction. 'Separate development', it came to be realized, could be implemented not only in terms of territorial considerations but also in broader terms of consociational

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The Territorial Management of Ethnic Conflict
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables and Figures vi
  • Maps viii
  • Preface to Second Edition xii
  • 1 - Introduction 1
  • 2 - Canada 23
  • 3 - Northern Ireland 45
  • 4 - Belgium 73
  • 5 - South Africa 99
  • 6 - Israel 118
  • 7 - Pakistan 143
  • 8 - Sri Lanka 173
  • 9 - The Dissolution of the Soviet Union 199
  • 10 - The Dissolution of Czechoslovakia 229
  • 11 - The Dissolution of Yugoslavia 264
  • 12 - Conclusion 293
  • Index 317
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