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By Ran Greenstein (eds.)

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She argues: While identity politics helps, provisionally at least, to overcome the alienation and paranoia that capital visits differentlyon various groups, it ultimately fragments struggle by sending 'groups' off in search of their sectional identities, leaving the system of relations upon which they rely itself unscathed. 9 These historiographical trends permeate the labour history of different countries to varying degrees. But, since working-class history (particularly on women) is more voluminous and deeply rooted in the United States and Europe than in South Africa, comparative work provides South African historians with a useful guide to formulating relevant questions and theoretical issues.

Despite their differences, both formulations tacitly accept the idea that trade unions were the appropriate means of expressing class power and consciousness, and that how wornen related to these organizations was an index of their class awareness and of unions' gender awareness. Thus, whether through their dornestic involvernent or through sexisrn, wornen often were prevented frorn developing the attachrnents that would assure thern full rnernbership in 'the working class'. 28 As the focus of wornen' s history has changed, approaches to the question of their involvernent in unions have shifted as weIl.

Mphahlele, The African Image (London, 1974), especially the discussion of Negritude, pp. 79-95, and N. Ndebele, Rediscovery of the Ordinary: Essays on South African Literature and Culture (Johannesburg, 1991). 62. Perhaps the most prominent spokesperson for this view is P. Hountondji in his African Philosophy: Myth and Reality (Bloomington, 1983); strong affirmation of ethnophilosophy can be found in O. Owomoyela, 'Africa and the Imperatives of Philosophy: A Skeptical Consideration', African Studies Review, 30, 1 (March 1987), pp.

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