White Belongings: Race, Land, and Property in Post-Apartheid South Africa deepens ongoing critical deconstruction of the role of whiteness in maintaining racial order. Scott Burnett , argues that the protection of white entitlement and cultural connection to the land are intimately interwoven, using detailed discourse analysis of campaigns aimed at preventing rhino poaching, stopping fracking in the Karoo, and advocating for the existence of a poverty “crisis,” which reveal how whites hold on to their “belongings” in everyday talk. White Belongings goes beyond the preoccupation with identity in whiteness studies to elaborate how specific subject roles and institutions are motivated and rationalized in hegemonic discursive regimes.
Scott Burnett is assistant professor in communications in the department of applied IT at the University of Gothenburg.
Introduction: Rhodes’s Soul
Chapter 1: Deconstructing Post-Apartheid Discourse
Chapter 2: Stewards of the Land
Chapter 3: Protecting ‘Soul Country’
Chapter 4: ‘Strangers in Their Own Country’
Chapter 5: ‘When You Return the Land’
Conclusion: The Future of White Belongings
"White Belongings is a timely, insightful, and sometimes enraging discussion of the enduring power of white supremacy in South Africa. Burnett analyzes the pervasive discourses that associate South African whiteness with naturalness and ownership of land, space, and property. Accessibly written and vigorously researched, White Belongings is a valuable addition to the growing literature on whiteness in the global south."
"In this original and vitally important book, Scott Burnett applies a post-structuralist analytic toolkit to questions of property, land, ownership, and control in South Africa, weaving them together with narratives of home and feelings of belonging that are rooted in histories of colonial dispossession and ongoing capitalist exploitation. Burnett’s analysis of South African whiteness and the politics of land represents a significant contribution to contemporary debates regarding land redistribution and justice."
"Scott Burnett’s book makes an important contribution to the study of whiteness by emphasizing the construction of a new white identity in South Africa that sheds the older, problematic white identity."
“Scott Burnett’s beautifully written discourse analysis uncovers how understandings of the ‘land question’ in post-apartheid South Africa are shaped within the interlocking dynamics of colonial legacies, liberalism, the valorization of private ownership, and whiteness. Taking on some of the most cherished tropes of whiteness in Africa, Burnett demonstrates how white belonging continues to be institutionalized and materialized, despite political and economic reforms. The work makes a significant contribution to critical whiteness studies and will resonate well beyond the borders of South Africa."