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Haines, Richard John (1991) The Politics of Philanthropy and Race Relations: The Joint Councils of South Africa, c.1920-1955. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis looks in detail at the activities of the joint councils - inter-racial organizations involved in the fields of 'race relations' and 'constitutional' protest politics particularly during the interwar years. The first joint council was established in Johannesburg in 1921, and by the 1930s, councils had been formed in virtually all the major urban centres in South Africa, as well as in a number of smaller towns and rural centres. For reasons of narrative cohesion, as well as the dictates of space, the period covered corresponds with the individual history of the Johannesburg Joint Council, the largest and most influential of these agencies. The Johannesburg body ceased operations in 1951, and in 1955 its funds were transferred to the South African Institute of Race Relations. The joint councils are usually seen as having been closely associated with white liberal thought and practice, especially during the interwar period, and one of the chief aims of this study is to explore this assumption. Was the social reformism of the councils essentially 'white' liberalism or was it a more complex amalgam of liberalism and essentially conservative philanthropic practices? A related concern is to provide some record of the activities, perceptions and experiences of the relatively wide spectrum of people who participated in the joint councils. This dimension is important as we still know relatively little of the regional dynamics of social reformism and interracial liberal ventures. Other themes which help shape the narrative are: the relationship between the joint councils and the African petty bourgeoisie; the growth of the South African Institute of Race Relations out of the joint council movement, as well as its subsequent, almost parasitical, relationship with the councils; and reasons for the decline of the joint council movement.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:20

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