Skip to main content
×
×
Home

The Social Question and State Formation in British Africa: Egypt, South Africa and Uganda in comparison

  • Alex Veit (a1), Klaus Schlichte (a2) and Roy Karadag (a3)
Abstract

The paper explores governmental perceptions and reactions to “social questions” in British colonial Africa, c. 1880-1950. By comparing three different political entities, Egypt, South Africa and Uganda, we find that authorities across cases have been acutely aware of potentially destabilising social change. Some social problems actually resulted from colonial projects themselves, giving rise to rather contradictory interpretations and policies. However, the intensity of political reactions to social questions varied widely, ranging from a largely passive approach in Egypt to the introduction of modern welfare in South Africa. We argue that perceptions and responses to social dislocation had a long-term impact on patterns of state formation and social policy development.

L’objectif de cet article est d’étudier les perceptions et réactions face à la question sociale dans l’Afrique sous l’influence coloniale britannique de 1880 à 1950. En comparant trois cas différant, Égypte, Afrique du Sud et Ouganda, nous découvrons que les autorités dans chaque cas ont été conscientes du potentiel déstabilisateur du changement social. Certains problèmes sociaux ont été les conséquences directes des projets coloniaux donnant lieu aux interprétations et politiques contradictoires. Pourtant, l’intensité des réactions politiques face à la question sociale ont varié largement de l’approche passive en Égypte à l’introduction de l’état social moderne en l’Afrique du Sud. Nous argumentons que les perceptions et réponses face à la dislocation sociale ont eu une influence à long terme sur la formation de l’État et le développent de la politique sociale.

In diesem Beitrag werden die Interpretationen und Reaktionen auf soziale Fragen im britischen kolonialen Afrika zwischen 1880 und 1950 untersucht. Durch den Vergleich von drei politischen Einheiten – Ägypten, Südafrika und Uganda – wird gezeigt, dass sich die Autoritäten der potentiell destabilisierenden Auswirkungen von sozialem Wandel bewusst waren. Manche sozialen Probleme wurden dabei durch koloniale Projekte selbst hervorgerufen, woraufhin es zu widersprüchlichen Interpretationen und Politiken kam. Die Intensität der politischen Reaktionen auf soziale Fragen unterschied sich jedoch sehr stark. Während etwa in Ägypten ein weitgehend passiver Ansatz durchgehalten wurde, kam es in Südafrika zur Einführung eines modernen Wohlfahrtssystems. Wir argumentieren, dass die Interpretationen und Reaktionen auf soziale Verwerfungen langfristige Auswirkungen auf Staatsbildungsprozesse und die Entwicklung von Sozialpolitiken hatten.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Baer, Gabriel, 1969. Studies in the Social History of Modern Egypt (Chicago, The University of Chicago Press).
Bates, Robert, 2008. When Things Fell Apart: State Failure in Late-Century Africa (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
Bayart, Jean-François, 1996. “L’historicité de l’Etat importé”, Cahiers du ceri, 15: 1-44.
Bazaara, Nyangabyaiki, 1994. “Land Reforms and Agrarian Structure in Uganda: Retrospect and Prospect”, Nomadic Peoples, 34/35: 37-53.
Bevan, Philippa, 2004. “The Dynamics of Africa’s In/security Regimes” in Gough, I., Wood, G. et al., Insecurity and Welfare Regimes in Asia, Africa and Latin America (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 202-249).
Bhambra, Gurminder, 2010. “Historical Sociology, International Relations and Connected Histories”, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 23 (1): 127-143.
Bierschenk, Thomas and Olivier de Sardan, Jean-Pierre, eds., 2014. States at Work: Dynamics of African Bureaucracies (Leiden, Brill).
Butler, Larry, 1999. “Industrialisation in Late Colonial Africa, a British Perspective”, Itinerario, 24 (3-4): 123-135.
Case, Holly, 2015. “The ‘Social Question,’ 1820-1920”, Modern Intellectual History, 13 (3): 747-775.
Castel, Robert, 2003. From Manual Workers to Wage Laborers: Transformation of the Social Question (New Brunswick, Transaction Publishers).
Cerami, Alfio, 2013. Permanent Emergency Welfare Regimes in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Exclusive Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy (Houndmills, Palgrave Macmillan).
Cole, Juan, 1993. Colonialism and Revolution in the Middle East (Princeton, Princeton University Press).
Collier, Paul, 2007. The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done about it (Oxford, Oxford University Press).
Cooper, Frederick, 1996. Decolonization and African Society: the Labor Question in French and British Africa (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
Devereux, Stephen, 2007. “Social Pensions in Southern Africa in the Twentieth Century”, Journal of Southern African Studies, 33 (3): 539-560.
Doyle, Shane, 2006. Crisis and Decline in Bunyoro. Population and environment in Western Uganda, 1860-1955 (London, James Currey).
Duncan, David, 1993. “The Origins of the Welfare State in Pre-Apartheid South Africa”, Collected Seminar Papers, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, 19: 106–119.
Duncan, David, 1995. The Mills of God: The State and African Labour in South Africa, 1918-1948 (Johannesburg, Witwatersrand University Press).
Ehrlich, Cyril, 1963. “Some Social and Economic Implications of Paternalism in Uganda”, Journal of African History, 4 (2): 275-285.
Ener, Mine, 2003. Managing Egypt’s Poor and the Politics of Benevolence, 1800-1952 (Princeton, Princeton University Press).
Englebert, Pierre, 2009. Africa: Unity, Sovereignty, and Sorrow (Boulder, Lynne Rienner).
Fahmy, Khaled, 1999. “The Police and the People in Nineteenth-Century Egypt”, Die Welt des Islams, 39 (3): 340-377.
Frank, Lawrence, 1974. “Reviews”, The Journal of Modern African Studies, 12 (1): 137-141.
Fregier, Honoré Antoine, 1839. Des Classes dangereuses de la population des grandes villes et des moyens de les rendre meilleures (Paris, Baillière).
Fuller, Thomas, 1977. “African Labor and Training in the Uganda Colonial Economy”, The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 10 (1): 77-95.
Goldberg, Ellis, 1992. “Peasants in Revolt: Egypt 1919”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 24 (2): 261-280.
Goldsworthy, David, 1971. Colonial Issues in British Politics, 1945-1961: From ‘Colonial Development’ to ‘Wind of Change’ (Oxford, Clarendon Press).
Hagmann, Tobias and Péclard, Didier, eds., 2011. Negotiating Statehood: Dynamics of Power and Domination in Africa (Chichester, Wiley-Blackwell).
Harwich, Christopher, 1961. Red Dust. Memories of the Uganda Police, 1935-1955 (London, Vincent Stuart).
Heidenheimer, Arnold, 1986. “Politics, Policy and Policy as Concepts in English and continental languages: an attempt to explain divergences”, The Review of Politics, 48 (1): 3-30.
Herbst, Jeffrey, 2014. States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control (Princeton, Princeton University Press).
Howerth, Ira, 1906. “The Social Question Today”, American Journal of Sociology, 12 (2): 254-268.
Iliffe, John, 1987. The African Poor: A History (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
Iliffe, John, 1995. Africans: The History of a Continent (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
Kaelble, Hartmut, 2012. „Historischer Vergleich”, Docupedia-Zeitgeschichte. Available at http://docupedia.de/zg/historischer_vergleich (accessed 23.01.2017).
Kangas, Olli, 2012. “Testing Old Theories in New Surroundings: The Timing of First Social Security Laws in Africa”, International Social Security Review, 65 (1): 73-97.
Khuri-Makdisi, Ilham, 2010. The Eastern Mediterranean and the Making of Global Radicalism, 1860-1914 (Berkeley, University of California Press).
Kpessa, Michael and Béland, Daniel, 2013. “Mapping social policy development in sub-Saharan Africa”, Policy Studies, 34 (3): 326-341.
Lange, Matthew, 2004. “British Colonial Legacies and Political Development”, World Development, 32 (6): 905-922.
Lange, Matthew, Mahoney, James and Hau, Matthias Vom, 2006. “Colonialism and Development: A Comparative Analysis of Spanish and British Colonies”, American Journal of Sociology, 111 (5): 1412-1462.
Lee, J. M., 1967. Colonial Development and Good Government: a Study of the Ideas Expressed by the British Colonial Official Classes in Planning Decolonization 1939-1964 (Oxford, Clarendon).
Lockman, Zachary, 1988. “British Policy toward Egyptian Labor Activism, 1882-1936”, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 20 (2): 265-285.
Lonsdale, John, 1981. “States and Social Processes in Africa: A Historiographical Survey”, African Studies Review, 24 (2/3): 139-225.
Lüdtke, Alf, 1982. „Gemeinwohl” Polizei und „Festungspraxis”. Staatliche Gewaltsamkeit und innere Verwaltung in Preußen, 1815-1850 (Göttingen, Vandenhoeckh & Ruprecht).
Lund, Christian, ed., 2006. Twilight Institutions: Public Authority and Local Politics in Africa (Malden, Blackwell).
Macoun, Michael J., 1996. Wrong Place, Right Time. Policing the End of Empire (London, Tauris).
Mamdani, Mahmood, 1976. Politics and Class Formation in Uganda (London, Heinemann).
Marx, Karl and Engels, Friedrich, 1848. Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei (Bishopsgate, J.E. Burghard).
Middleton, John F. M., 1971. “Some Effects of Colonial Rule Among the Lugbara” in Turner, V., ed., Colonialism in Africa, 1870-1960 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 6-48).
Migdal, Joel, 1988. Strong Societies and Weak States: State-Society Relations and State Capabilities in the Third World (Princeton, Princeton University Press).
Migdal, Joel, 2001. State in Society: Studying How States and Societies Transform and Constitute One Another (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
Mitchell, Timothy, 1988. Colonising Egypt (Berkeley, University of California Press).
Mkandawire, Thandika, 2009. “From the National Question to the Social Question”, Transformation: Critical Perspectives on Southern Africa, 69 (1): 130-160.
Pella, John Anthony Jr., 2015. “World Society, International Society and the Colonization of Africa”, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 28 (2): 210-228.
Peterson, Derek R., 2012. Ethnic Patriotism and the East African Revival. A history of dissent, c. 1935-1972 (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
Rogan, Eugene, 2015. The Fall of the Ottomans. The Great War in the Middle East, 1914-1920 (New York, Basic Books).
Sagner, Andreas, 2000. “Ageing and Social Policy in South Africa: Historical Perspectives with Particular Reference to the Eastern Cape”, Journal of Southern African Studies, 26 (3): 523-553.
Sarraut, Albert, 1923. La mise en valeur des colonies français (Paris, Parrot).
Savage, Dillon Jesse, 2011. “The Stability and Breakdown of Empire: European Informal Empire in China, the Ottoman Empire and Egypt”, European Journal of International Relations, 17 (2): 161-185.
Scherpner, Hans, 1974. Theorie der Fürsorge (Göttingen, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht).
Schmitt, Carina, 2015. “Social Security Development and the Colonial Legacy”, World Development, 70: 332-342.
Seekings, Jeremy, 2004. “Trade Unions, Social Policy & Class Compromise in Post-Apartheid South Africa”, Review of African Political Economy, 31 (100): 299-312.
Seekings, Jeremy, 2007. “’Not a Single White Person Should Be Allowed to Go under’: Swartgevaar and the Origins of South Africa’s Welfare State, 1924-1929”, The Journal of African History, 48 (3): 375-394.
Seekings, Jeremy, 2008. “The Carnegie Commission and the Backlash against Welfare State-Building in South Africa, 1931-1937”, Journal of Southern African Studies, 34 (3): 515-37.
Singer, Amy, 2008. Charity in Islamic Societies (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
Terreblanche, Sampie, 2002. A History of Inequality in South Africa, 1652-2002 (Pietermaritzburg, University of Natal Press).
Thompson, Gardner, 2003. Governing Uganda. British Colonial Rule and its Legacy (Kampala, Fountain Books).
Tignor, Robert L., 1966. Modernization and British colonial rule in Egypt, 1882-1914 (Princeton, Princeton University Press).
Tilly, Charles, 1985. “State Making and War Making as Organized Crime” in Evans, P., Rueschemeyer, D. and Skocpol, T., eds., Bringing the State Back In (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press: 169-191).
Toeldano, Ehud, 1990. State and Society in Mid-Nineteenth Century Egypt (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press).
Tönnies, Ferdinand, 1907. Die Entwicklung der sozialen Frage (Leipzig, Göschen).
Van Niekerk, Robert, 2003. “The Evolution of Health and Welfare Policies in South Africa: Inherited Institutions, Fiscal Restraint, and the Deracialization of Social Policy in the Post-Apartheid Era”, The Journal of African American History, 88 (4): 361-376.
Van Onselen, Charles, 2001. New Babylon, New Nineveh: Everyday Life on the Witwatersrand, 1886-1914 (Johannesburg, Jonathan Ball Publishers).
Wehler, Hans-Ulrich, 1995. Von der „Deutschen Doppelrevolution” bis zum Beginn des Ersten Weltkriegs, 1849-1914 (Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte, Bd. 3) (München, Beck).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

European Journal of Sociology / Archives Européennes de Sociologie
  • ISSN: 0003-9756
  • EISSN: 1474-0583
  • URL: /core/journals/european-journal-of-sociology-archives-europeennes-de-sociologie
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 14
Total number of PDF views: 113 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 637 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 15th August 2017 - 19th September 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.