Working on the Margins

Black Workers, White Farmers in Postcolonial Zimbabwe

Blair Rutherford



This is the first ethnographic analysis, from the colonial past to the postcolonial present, of those who live and work on predominantly white-owned commercial farms in Zimbabwe - almost a fifth of the national population. The land question, rural development and labour exploitation are re-thought through a nuanced cultural analysis of the lives of farm workers, their families and their white bosses. Building on Foucault's concept of 'government', the book addresses the arrangements of power, points of struggle and strategies of accumulation on commercial farms and nearby communal lands.


[Rutherford's] book is an excellent analysis of the complex political relations that have been faced by farm workers. It is a theoretically sophisticated and nuanced study of the problem, which stands almost alone in this area of study. - Brian Raftopoulos


Blair Rutherford is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.