Unsettled Futures: The Paradoxes of the Post-apartheid Project in the Countryside


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Sociology and Social Anthropology


This proposed book addresses how the future, and an idea of freedom that the overcoming of apartheid implied, appears to residents of a village in the Post-apartheid countryside. Building on recent readings of contemporary South Africa that point to a growing ambivalence among many citizens towards freedom and the future (Dlamini 2010, Hansen 2012), Unsettled Futures traces, materially, the profound uncertainties in this village. In a place that in the last decade has been remade by government housing and state social grants, houses have not meant security or stability and movement has not meant freedom. Instead, the book shows how residents' hopes for the future are simultaneously pinned on more state intervention and an escape from this government-aided village. An ethnography of a Post-Apartheid village, Unsettled Futures engages recent discussions on state dependence and freedom (Ferguson 2013), and analyzes the future of democratic project in South Africa and beyond.