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Melancholia of FreedomSocial Life in an Indian Township in South Africa$
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Thomas Blom Hansen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691152950

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691152950.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Melancholia of Freedom

Thomas Blom Hansen

Princeton University Press

This introductory chapter looks at how every South African had to learn to live according to a complex cultural economy that was structured by several forms of (imputed) gaze. This is because life during apartheid became so rigidly divided along race lines, and yet remained intimate and close in workplaces and homes. Racialized identities and anxieties were played out at every level of social and intimate life. The result was a set of complex, performative anxieties that are by no means unique to South Africa but became more developed there than in most other societies. The chapter suggests that the legacy of colonial and apartheid regulation and cultural policy has made the embodied imagination of a range of imputed gazes extraordinarily compelling and complex in everyday life.

Keywords:   South Africans, cultural economy, apartheid regulation, apartheid, race lines, racialized identities, colonialism

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