Deindustrialization, Professionalization and Racial Inequality in Cape Town

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Scholars argue that persistent racial inequality in Cape Town is caused
by deindustrialization, which has led to high unemployment among blacks
(Africans, coloreds and Indians) and the polarization of the occupational
structure into a class of mostly white, highly paid managers and professionals
and a class of mostly black, low-paid service-sector workers. This study
shows that deindustrialization has not produced a large class of black low-wage
service-sector workers. Instead, it has produced a professionalizing
occupational structure alongside high unemployment. Although whites
benefited from the growth of the professional and managerial jobs, these
occupations have been substantially deracialized. The consequence for the
racial geography of Cape Town is that the city is becoming divided into
racially mixed middle-class neighborhoods and black working-class neighborhoods characterized by high unemployment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-862
Number of pages27
JournalUrban Affairs Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • social polarisation
  • professionalisation
  • deindustrialisation
  • racial inequality
  • Cape Town
  • South Africa
  • post-Fordist spatial order
  • racial residential desegregation
  • urban inequality


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