Journal article Open Access

Social Identity and Social Exclusivity: South Africa's Middle-Class Strata in a Perpetual Struggle for Integration


The object of this article is to proffer a critical contribution into discourses about social exclusion, which has a bearing on socio-economic development, but with specific focus on the concept of social exclusivity from a perspective of class struggle and social identity. At the center of attention, the article attempts to advance an insightful elucidation of the realities besieging South Africa’s segment of the previously disadvantaged groups, the so-called ‘educated middle-class’. The middle-class often manifest with delusional thoughts, who owing to lack of ideological intelligibility, find themselves at odds with harsh capitalist realities, and are instead fighting to be integrated into a highly globalized, but not native friendly system which is an imperial heritage largely characterised by socio-economic deprivations and arrangements that entrench the continued material disadvantage of the majority, the lumpen-proletariat, the ‘less-educated lower-class’. It is asserted that social exclusivity, which manifest through forced social integration and preservation of exclusive social status, contributes immensely to South Africa’s social instabilities, especially because it accepts that inequalities and socio-economic deprivations must be accepted as part and parcel of choices in human development. Further, that although this phenomenon appear to be modern in form, it actually originates from the past, and inherently perpetuates social arrangements established prior and during apartheid.

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