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Doctoral Degrees (Society and Social Change)

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    Change to the quality of life of Black mineworkers in South Africa.
    (1983) De Vries, Peter.
    In many respects a gold mine could be viewed as South African society in microcosm, for it hes many of the same structures and features of its macro-society. In most societies it would be inappropriate to regard an industrial setting as the microcosm of the larger society as, in most societies, people are hardly aware of authority or of the legal system. The principal source of contact with such systems for most people would be of an irritant kind, associated with parking and traffic misdemeanours. This does not apply to the black person in South Africa, where freedom of movement, place of residence,position at work, use of public facilities, etc. are severely circumscribed. In fact, it is not unusual for black persons to be accosted by the police from time to time to determine whether they are permitted to be where they are, or to be removed from premises by white officials. Moreover, most white persons abrogate unto themselves the right to give instructions to any black person, a situation not unfamiliar on a mine. In the South African macro-society and the mine micro-society the top echelon of jobs, the best living conditions, salaries, hours of work, conditions of employment, opportunities for advancement and other privileges are reserved for whites, and blacks have no authority to effect changes to these conditions. It is postulated that change in South Africa for blacks is likely to take a form similar to change on a mine. Consequently, by studying change to the quality of life of black workers on a mine, useful insights may be gained into the reactions of black persons to change in the macro-society.