We denounce child labor, racism, sexism, etc. Here in America, the American Dream is still alive. Who cares if you get fired from Caterpillar, we live in the land of plenty. Any self-sufficient Caterpillar worker can find his way from laid-off rags to riches. As long as you are being fair and equal, laying off all employees from a certain sector of the company not just the Jews, disabled, or homosexuals, this can hardly be considered unethical in the framework of American history and culture.
Cohen said mass layoffs were always unethical, but that they might be done sooner than truly necessary. The moral distinction comes in assessing how much the company has done post- and pre-crisis, in terms of solid planning to minimize the damage. I think that most of the preceding comments have missed the point. As r-jay points out, none of Mr.
The claim, as I understand it, is simply that, since mass-layoffs cause harm and we have a duty to not harm, there is a prima facie duty to avoid mass-layoffs. Since this duty is only a prima-facie one, it can be overridden by other moral concerns. A product for which there are no buyers? In a recession, comsumers will buy less.
The idea that you should cut executive wages to pay these workers employeed is a complete non sequitur in this situation. Apparantly the author missed that week as his assertion that mass layoffs should be constrained by law is defended solely with red-herring and strawman arguments, and completely ignores well-developed concepts of business and corporate ethics. For example, Mr. He awknowledges it, and then immediately dismisses it.
The shareholder has committed capital to an enterprise to maximize profit subject to the law. The answer? The implications, though, are ignored. I suspect Mr. Cohen knows this, hence the lazy support for his claim. Caterpillar is not alone. Most large corporations operate this way. If you can rationalize that as moral or ethical behavior, then no sensible argument will dissuade you from defense of the indefensible.
I have a feeling that a lot of people would cringe at a comparison of Mr. Cohen to the director Michael Moore, but the smart line of reasoning in this entry echoes Mr. Cohen does make liberal use of strawmen in his arguments, which cloud rather than clarify the issues. For instance, think about his claim that companies could make more money by not paying wages, ignoring safety standards, and assassinating rivals.
None of those are even remotely true. In anything other than the very short term, these tactics would destroy a firm. And why are we even dragging assassination into a discussion of layoffs? More to the point, Cohen fails to appreciate the tradeoff between the apparently ethical short-term choice and the one that is most likely to maximize long-term prosperity. Firms must be competitive in order to grow.
A company can either be a make-shift welfare system, or it can seek to make a profit and grow. The latter increases overall welfare and should be a slam dunk from a utilitarian point of view. Consider an imperfect analogy. Or do you cause some pain in the short term in hopes of achieving a better long-term solution? As for corporate compensation, it is probably excessive at the moment.
You end up failing to attract good talent and performing poorly in the long run. And guess what, as soon as the investors sell the stock, the credit rating goes down, borrowing costs go up, and employees are affected. For those of you suggesting we offshore jobs, be wary of the society you are creating. The alternative is revolution. The French and Americans revolted against tyranny and the royal oppression. Other than blood lines? First of all, I believe that Mr. Cohen is suggesting that mass layoffs as a first response is unethical. Second, if anyone wants a good example of unregulated capitalism, look at the Gilded Age in the late 19th century.
Some of the largest fortunes ever seen were made during that time period Rockefeller, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, etc. People were forced to work in appalling conditions, for very little pay, so that a tiny minority could get stupendously, ridiculously rich. Yes, Rockefeller et. Unregulated capitalism leads to misery for the vast majority of the population. Capitalism can work, and quite well, as long as the government is able to step in and keep corporations in line. Business ethics may be a subject studied by many in the business world, but if the current economic crisis is any indication, it is very rarely practiced at the executive level unless the law requires it.
Aside from that, if corporations want the freedom to lay off workers at will, then it is their ethical and moral duty to ensure that there is a social safety net in place for all of the unemployed. That is how it works in most industialized countries like, Spain, France or Sweden. And these countries have higher emplyoment rate than the USA at the moment. To me this is even more insidious because the public remains unaware of what has transpired and thus are unable to factor it into their decisions about which companies to do business with.
It is disheartening to say the least, especially when you work for a company that IS doing well, that IS experiencing double digit growth even now, in this economy yet still lays off many employees at the whim of the shareholders as a preventative measure. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy, and IMHO bad business. There used to be business gurus being interviewed on the radion explaining how our economy was so much better than say Germany because we had more flexible hiring and firing practices.
Productivity they called it. We could move people to jobs where they were needed instead of paying them for doing outmoded jobs. Kind of like old style Communism. Mass layoffs breaks the Social Contract that Henry Ford promoted. The continuous mobility of continental migrants into South Africa Adepoju ; Crush et. Johannesburg salons and hairdressers are widely distributed and conveniently accessible to customers.
It is predominantly migrants who own and service most informal salons in South Africa, both out of the spirit of entrepreneurship and as pioneering haircare professionals Ojong, and Nyamnjoh and Fuh, Elsewhere in the world, the story of hair and emancipation in American history Brisbon, ; Dash, ; Thompson, details the journey of hair in human society and the commercialisation of hair, and parallels black African history of freedom from slavery.
It is argued Brisbon ; Dash, ; Thompson, hair history has been constructed to emphasise contested belonging, social notions of status, class and solidarity. In the advent of advertising and the boom of the beauty industry, women were enabled to extend the construction of beauty and liberal selfhood through their economic status. Brisbon, ; Dash, ; Thompson, Similarly, Dash goes back to the 17th century recording of diasporic slave grooming.
It is recorded that in confinement within ships, slaves used broken bottles for razors and without soap. Where slavery migration brought people from all parts of the world, diasporas creatively designed new ways of grooming taken from all races, including their oppressors, to form new styles. It was not black, it was not white, it was a brew of the two. It was category three. Ojong of outward expression of identity, matching the social phenomena of the time, such as the need for upliftment and raised economic identity Brisbon v, 4.
South African haircare operations, established informally by migratory groups such as enterprising Nigerians, Cameroonians, Ghanaians and the Chinese, cater to these rising needs Peberdy, ; Crush et al. Medrano, involving the restricted right to belong, access, consume or engage with everyday civil services as black citizens.
The tensions over natural or treated hair reflect global influences on cultures. Their work speaks to the fluidity of identity and the conversation of a multicultural, broad-based society. Today, hair is an enabler, with creative ways to make oneself beautiful as an identifier of status, economic and social capital Brewington, Societies have become intercultural works of borrowed expressions in their uses of hair coming from continental exchanges Dash, The South African haircare market is flooded with Grade 9A1 premiumised human hairpieces from Peru, Vietnam, Brazil and India, found in Johannesburg markets and salons.
Southern Africa is one of the fastest- urbanising regions in the world. With the advent of globalising impact on the south, migration scholars Nyamnjoh et al. A look at Johannesburg Thompson, ; Segatti et al. In this context, I am hoping to fully realise how identities become more transnational and fluid in nature, how beliefs and accountabilities are adapted, through entrepreneurial activities and lifestyles amid conflicting home and host country status Thompson, ; Bornemann, ; Ojong and in circumstances of challenging anti-migrant sentiment Ojong ; Nyamnjoh ; Moyo et al.
Migration in South Africa show that frontier mobility is an age-old reality stretching back to the colonial era Trimikliniotis et al. The salon businesses add ancillary services, such as internet cafes, indigenous cuisine, cantinas and nail and tattoo parlours, which are also owned by non-nationals. I am interrogating the notion of citizenship and home as it relates to urban spaces. What is fundamental among ethnographic researchers is that urban populations or societies are multi-African, flexibly mobile and therefore not defined by fixed boundaries of nationhood though subtly negotiated at street level.
Where citizenship in South Africa gives meaning and identity to nationhood through a barcoded green identification document, conviviality forms a new way of imagining multiple identities, flexible mobilities and unbound notions of borders and territories, which give meaning to the ways in which urban spaces are inhabited Nyamnjoh and Brudvig, The body of work related to my topic is particularly by Africans. Foremost among these is the significant researcher of haircare entrepreneurship in South Africa, Ojong and those who have prioritised issues of belonging alongside migration Crush et al.
The Crush et al. Recent economic integration into the global economy has attracted a host of moving informal cross-border entrepreneurs, traders and an injection of feminisation in migration, including the expansion of undocumented migration and trafficking In post-racial2 times we may question how democratic governance has handled the question of intra-migration, global partnerships on policies of immigration, continental development and uncontrolled migrant flows Crush et al. Furthermore, it should be questioned whether post-apartheid governments have adequately dealt with major teething problems such as massive unemployment, the HIV Aids epidemic, poverty and crime, all of which have been put forward as reasons to justify xenophobic sentiment Landau, Massey criticises the role politicians play in the denial of accurate immigration policy making.
Push and pull factors provide reasons for intraregional mobility Nyamnjoh, ; Ojong, , Migration dynamics can be progressive, both for migrants and host cities in the ways the globalisation process has allowed interconnectedness to include intra-regional exchanges Crush et al. Areas of influence include job creation, real estate occupancy, urban city sector development, flows of goods and services, social services provided with external skillsets, skills transfer to unskilled locals, establishing a consumer market through importation and retailing Crush et al.
Crush et al. This boom also increased border traffic, attracting other continent movers aside from SADC neighbours. This can also be seen in the analysis by Crush et al of informal businesses owned by migrants in Cape Town, contributing to the city through rent ZARk pm , employment, and the imports and exports of goods from around Africa.
They also increased demand for locally sourced goods, which boosts the economy and reduces consumer margins, especially for the significantly impoverished. Approximately 60 per cent of these migrant business owners are able to make remittances, averaging at ZAR pa, to their families back home ; Ojong, They compared reasons for entry for men and women migrating into South Africa and found that 33 men entered for work for every seven women Crush et al.
Fifty-four per cent of women have ZAR or less start-up capital, compared to 32 per cent of men Ghanaian women such as Amina not only transfer knowledge but also their cultures and identity to locals through haircare Ibid: They adapt to mobility through learning new skills and languages, being fearlessly mobile, leaving their families behind, building networks with customers and others who support them under harsh urban conditions Citizenship and belonging, especially in urban centres like Johannesburg, were seen reserved for whites.
This idea was legally entrenched through legislation such as the Regulation Act of and the subsequent Immigration Acts Ibid: 68, The former have sworn allegiance to South Africa and become citizens, although they may retain citizenship in their country of origin. Permanent residents have all of the rights of citizens except for the right to vote. These sentiments are added to existing discriminatory thoughts that arise out of racism, isolation and nationalism, all contributing to as the treatment of migrants as political scapegoats ; Maharaj, All these perspectives are theoretical and exploratory exercises into migration and conviviality Nyamnjoh, , ; Nyamnjoh and Brudvig, , which I attempt to fit into notions of belonging.
Studies continue to emerge exploring and arguing for indigenous origins Nyamnjoh ; Ojong, ; Mbembe, ; Zeleza, , the misrepresentations of migrants and African selfhood Landau, , ; Comaroff and Comaroff, , quantitative explorations of migrant activities and contributions to the local economy, including challenges across political, policy, geographic, economic and social spheres of mobility Peberdy, ; Nyamnjoh ; Crush et al. The etymological study of differences between insiders as seen to be local citizens and outsiders as seen to be migrants, foreigners and non-natives create living labels with lens to exclude and deny.
In both cases she highlights the struggle against coercive power and race. This epitomises the experiences of women in Johannesburg, which will be explored in Chapters Women are central to the workings of the convivial process and this is also seen through individual agency and personality, for instance in the case of Mama Lee, where conviviality is given currency in the negotiation of cooperation, inclusion, interdependence and selflessness.
Similarly, migrant women are critical to the patterns of migration as they are to haircare entrepreneurship and urban sociality. Simone emphasises how urban spaces experienced at ground level by researchers, policymakers, and urban activists, can reveal a view of migrant residents as marginalised and immiserated by urban life, its complex shapes of regularity and provisionality Mbembe believes that the changing body of Africa over two centuries is, in modern times, being redefined by new ways of imagining space and territory, which poses threats to how mobility is understood.
This is significant as state and autochthonic treatment of boundaries confines and privileges its uses of spaces to citizens over non-citizens. This is close in practice to the shape and nature of frontier mobilities, which encompass corresponding fluidity between boundaries and imagined spaces by which they inhabit host spaces. What is astonishing about frontier migrants, as shown the work of Simone and Nyamnjoh is the trait of trust worthiness and dependency that comes from a flexible moral order, which is just as important as the facet of collaboration, the unwritten or inexplicit rules available to institutionalise behaviour.
And this means entering more and more deeply into community with others. The gift remains a part of the giver. So when it is given it pursues the one who holds it and everyone to whom the gift is transmitted The lasting influence of the objects exchanged is a direct expression of the manner in which sub-groups within segmentary societies of an archaic type are constantly embroiled with and feel themselves in debt to each other. Gift giving in this study is explored through economic, give-and-take, transactional exchanges in which migrants are recognised as haircare givers and clients are the receivers.
In the context of conviviality, reprocity is presented as the social and communal interdependencies amongst haircare migrant relations and with the public who seek out salons to groom their hair. I have shown its links in archives of migration development and informal enterprise in South Africa. Hair lends itself well to a discussion of the concepts of conviviality in cultural and social interdependencies, which this study promotes, between South African natives and migrant urban cohabitants.
The haircare industry works as a yardstick for social transformation. The consumption of haircare in South Africa, similarly to elsewhere in the world, is driven by economic growth, as well as driving ideals of beauty women. The development of hair entrepreneurship in the city gives significant valorisation to migrant contributions to society and the creation of conviviality in the entangled living that prevails in complex, frontier, everyday lives in urban spaces beyond the thorn of autochthony.
I explore how conviviality inspires urban cohabitation and new ways of being amongst multi-racial groups. Somewhere in the back of my mind was a sense of the history of the Iberian countries, which for such a long period of time managed the perilous process of living with difference without being overcome by xenophobia and hostility. She points to the role of power, coercion and race in the construct of identity, thus transformation and violence, intimacy and tyranny are two sides of the same coin.
He establishes conviviality as a theoretical framework by which society deals in real time with the residual history of racism and exclusion and he motivates for society to take lessons on this multicultural orientation. In his analysis, communities of difference are capable of quietly resolving conflict, overcoming differences in spontaneous ways, encouraged by a common sense of human sameness, triggered by neighbourliness Gilroy, ; Nowicka and Vertovec, ; Rzepnikowska, Theorists have explored social dynamics and experiences of multicultural existence in urban spaces and its modes of everyday practices of living with difference Rzepnikowska, ; Wise and Velayutham, ; Nowicka and Vertovec, Multiculturalism as a politicalised bias for assimilating migrants and equally cosmopolitanism, have been hijacked, Gilroy, , cited in Nowicka and Vertovec, implying that these terms have been tainted with imperialist ideology.
Further, citing Heil, they point to neighbourliness in everyday negotiation and interaction In this thesis, culture is important in understanding how markers of difference for haircare migrants are strategically promoted or downsized in the negotiation and exchanges of spaces of temporal belonging. Drawing from Nyamnjoh and Peberdy acts of xenophobia and violence in South Africa are not just shaped by the denial of rights to belonging but also through anxious ignorance of the unknown.
It may perhaps also be a politics of culture. I have defined and analysed the term in relation to difference, urban life encounters and culture, the influence of temporal urban spaces and conflict in shaping the emergence of conviviality. The next chapter will focus on accounts of observed and narrative accounts of conviviality within the haircare field. I do not completely belong to my country of origin or to South Africa. I belong to a space I have carved out for myself, which is a mixture of bricolage; it is a fluid, hybrid and symbolic space.
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African anthropologists like Ojong, on haircare migrant entrepreneurship and Ross, on displaced, homeless dwellers in Die Bos, attempt to contest the exclusionary nature of nation-building and discriminatory, racialized classifications Ojong, ; Ross, This chapter firstly outlines the methodology of this research, which uses ethnography as a tool to explore lives of migrants and get deeper insights into their experiences of belonging.
Secondly I present the data design and collection focused on the participants, ethics and limitations. She reminds us that we, as ethnographers, are given the superior, privileged status to observe people historically constructed in an unequal world of capitalism dominated by the superior west and its divide with the non-West I recognise that this undertaking comes full-circle, with full dependence on and rapport with the field and my participants, in my own status as an outsider.
This emic perspective is complemented by an etic approach which entails systematising that knowledge, extending it through abstraction, generalisation and comparison so that we can say something more broadly about the human condition. This study took place in four different sites: Braamfontein a study and arts town; Randburg, a middle-class suburb with a fading citizenship of white seniors, a new commercial and retail district with a high majority of black commuters and a significant foreign presence, including owners of churches and businesses; the inner city suburb cluster of Hillbrow-Berea-Yeoville, consisting of a string of skyscrapers with sidewalk salons and the highest concentration of foreign residents;, and lastly, cosmopolitan Douglasdale in the far north of the city, an upper middle-class, multi-ethnic residential district.
Moreover, Naidoo provides that ethnographic research evolves in a reality where place and people are constantly changing. They argue that researcher objectivity in their interpretation has and can be contested cf. Denzin, ; Sanjek, in 43 because of the bias they bring into the field and in addition, truth according to Emersion et al. The encounter of the field as an outsider of the in-culture brought me to an admission of dependence and being invited in through the stories beheld by the participants and my admission that I was removed migrant experiences.
The men who invited me to listen and watch felt my work was important to their activist vocality for the hidden realities of migrant vulnerabilities of living in South Africa.
They wanted it to be known that they are making economic contributions and sacrifices on behalf of the country and that they are keeping urban entrepreneurial culture alive where local men seem to be swallowed up by capitalist dominance, unable to make their own money and grow businesses for themselves and their families.
These noted encounters fed my researcher insights and built a wholesome ethnography by increasing my understanding of how migrants reconstruct their identities against the construct of identity and belonging. Conversation, unlike census-taking, does not permit neutrality. These are all password-protected devices and not shared with other devices. Hogan, Dolan and Donnelly, All kinds of forces may conspire to nullify these juxtapositions Shared spaces, as covered in chapter 3, include the reality of conflict but these are managed through differences and with respectability and interdependence Wise and Velayutham, Ethnography fieldwork informs how research data is collected by means of participant observation and in-depth personal interviews with individuals and groups Dewalt et al.
The interviews were semi-structured, open-ended and conversational and consisted of short questions split across demographic data, family background, race, citizenship and plans and personal questions. I conducted two or three interviews per day over weekends. The interviews lasted for an hour and a quarter, depending on the ease of the conversation and trust with the participant to allow participants to share deep and personal experiences by way of discussion with brief interrogations to probe discussion with insights.
It was therefore only possible to take one interview at a time. Over the last few months, I have begun to build close ties with the participants that have made our rapport open and built on a level of trust, which is sensitive to migrants entrusting me with their private life experiences and views through observation, participating in the daily routine of salon life whilst informally using everyday conversation, interviewing, observing and recording during leisurely activities, to filter through assumptions and also manipulate information to build meaning These were aided by the use of WhatsApp, Instagram and email, and video and audio recording technologies.
I introduced voice recording upon every interview as reminder of consent, surreptitiously placed near the participant without disrupting their way of business once given permission by respondents who were sceptical of notes. This was effective with combined montage of remembered, lived moments, non-representative alien actors, useful field notes journal accounts, the audio-recording quality to capture voice, the aura of background noise and multivocal presence, as well as the sense of being there through listening, which I constructed towards relevance to my research exploration.
Initially, during the consent phase and initial ethnographic interviews individual and group , it was intriguing to spend weeks to months listening to and observing the participants. The fieldwork was phased in three ways: consent from participant visits, which took about two to three weeks, with me spending about one week per location. Thirdly, personal and group semi-structured interviews were conducted. On busy days I interviewed the managers first, which took about an hour before moving on to the rest of the participants. So I particularly chose to prioritise focus on individuals with vast haircare history and experience based on their operating and residency years.
The study comprised a young under 40 years hairdressing mix, with 44 per cent female participation and 56 percent male contribution. This is due to men being more open to inquiry and also men tended to be owners and managers with much more expertise in dealing with the public. Thus women were mostly proficient in doing hair and specifically working in the salon and dealing with clients on a one-to- one basis.
I relied heavily on accounts by Mama Lee and Mama Grace, who were dominant in the field. The cultural mix of the participants came from diverse regions of Africa and experience was dilutive through exchanges where learning and practising haircare was open to everyone although key roles were observable according rankings of haircare by groups, which I cover in Chapter 6.
Owner, employs 5 independent Protected 12 freelancers Juma 32 Male Burundi 17 0 Burundi Matric, Family business, Barber trained Barber trained and working at family Protected 13 business. Over time I was able to group them according to their dreams, lifestyles, and reasons for employment or business set-up. In their participation most fulfilled participant-informant roles of because of their vast knowledge and experience. They talked about their lives and personal experiences, they invited me into the intimate detail of their everyday life, including listening to telephonic conversations with family, friends or clients, religious observed rituals over December and January, their plans for the year, troubles with problem clients and stories of good, gainful clients, listening to someone singing and humming nostalgic songs of hope and joy over my head.
As informants they were experts on social contexts between different groups, particularly the store or salon managers, who were more knowledgeable and more authoritative about the space. They knew the rules of exchange on a business level and at close relational level amongst each other as professionals, as migrants in the city and with clients who are largely local. Figure 4: Sites of Johannesburg suburbs The salons in Braamfontein, Hillbrow-Berea-Yeoville and Randburg are an experience of multicultural urban and retail diversity.
They speak of the neighbourhood, of people and cultural symbols that embody a way of life. Braamfontein is a well-kept business borough of downtown Johannesburg that sponges out the cosmopolitan diversity of all out-of-town Johannesburgers. It houses businesses and lifestyle art galleries, avant-garde apartment renovations, jazz clubs, nightclubs, Neighbourgoods farmers markets and social fusions.
Randburg is a cosmopolitan and middle—class community shaped by aged to retired home-owners, now making room for new and aspirational young families filling the mushrooming of townhouses. On the extreme end, Yeoville and Hillbrow are exclusively fashioned by the presence of migrants or travellers. I spent the least amount of time here because it was just so hard to watch a place, which held so many childhood memories for me, in a state of such severe deterioration.
Sometimes I had to walking outside to get some privacy and quiet.. Figure 5: shopping centre — Randburg CBD The salons see working clients during the week, as well as city enthusiasts who come into town to do and buy hair and experience the urban arts culture that comes to life on weekends. Hair and its representations of power3 and status give consumers knowable expressions of style and eloquence.
Take for example a white collar employee from Liberty Life who comes to transact a hairstyle that brings her style and assertiveness. She has come to shop like many clients I observed, who had a picture, an idea or image on her phone or from the latest Destiny or Elle magazines stacked in the corner rack, gleaning from these messages of feminine power to domestic grace or playful trends for the student down the road. Most of the places were clean except on Saturday afternoons after a busy day. Transparency built over time of engagement depended on my continual presence and shared experience in salon life.
Some weeks I spent Saturdays and Sundays sitting through light conversations, watching Indian and Nigerian soapie dramas and Euro football matches. The hairdressers constantly asked to do my hair and nails, even checking in on WhatsApp when I change my pro pic. In some cases I received brotherly advice and guidance. I received invitations to share West African cuisine cooked in a shanty bar restaurant with dark windows and served in a smoky room with loud dance music and pool tables. DATA ANALYSIS The analysis is drawn from a journal, field notes of the sites and participants prior to interviews, and a single form and picture that captures the surroundings, furniture, routine activity at the office, characteristics of the environment; office dynamics, walk-in profile observations, including listening to discussions and observing the relationship dynamics.
This later helped in the interpretation of data by replaying the events of the day through multivocal sounds and conversation, as well as doubly studying the data through listening and dialogue transcription. The key themes that were identified related to race and migration, family, money, growth and relationships in chapter 7. This has included disclosure of all recordings and notetaking to put participants at ease.
What has been critical is to constantly reassure them that their participation is voluntary and anonymous, especially as we deepened the quality of personal information shared. There have been participants who have fallen out of the project due to moves to other places of employment, for reasons outside of project. Findings, publications and, where feasible, raw data, should be made available to participants in national and local languages, after due consideration of the potential harm of disclosure of raw or processed data. Dewalt et al. These encounters have helped me build a personal journal to test and question my own insecurities and prejudices of people from different social and economic backgrounds.
This partly includes accountability to my own safety and so I pledged to take responsibility for ensuring my own safety. I needed to keep close tabs on the prevalence of xenophobia in the field of study, and avoid discussions that would incite conflict. Lastly, it was important that I keep my personal details private, including where I live and my relationships. My biggest fear about my surrounding was that I would be spending a lot of time with men, to whom I earlier felt vulnerable. Knowing their stories frightened and saddened me a bit see 6.
When I was interviewing I changed, I became vernacular, blended in. I covered up my body in baggy jackets to appear less feminine. It was important to be liked and to be unthreatening in demeanour. Input from both locals and migrants would have served to better understand how to address the contestation to nationalist citizenship for both sides and deal with common hardships felt by all. The sample size had a limited number of women running businesses in haircare and, as informants, few woman were as vocal as men were, which could assist in understanding how the process of conviviality is initiated with greater transparency in relation to their struggle for belonging.
The unpredictability of the salon as a place of business meant some schedules would fall away to accommodate patrons. Language was a barrier too, with participants switching to speak amongst themselves in different languages other than English. These were moments when I felt alien and that I was missing key conversations, even as I tried to read body language. Taking notes was discouraged instead owners wanted me to take visuals of their shop as forms of publicity for marketing their business. Travelling to town and the dynamics of being immersed in commuter ways of life were necessary and equally limited the ease and possibility of reaching multiple sites in one day, especially as afternoons tended to be busiest for business on weekends.
Constant extracting from the field meant exiting the zone and created a thwarting absence in which the weekday reality away closed off the researcher from the realities of the participants aside from chatting on WhatsApp for scheduling proving difficult. SUMMARY This chapter discussed the value of ethnographic research to understanding the experiences of migrants through ethnographic immersion and participant observation. I became absorbed into the community life of hairdressers and, from this drew narrative accounts of views and encounters of belonging in South Africa.
The data from the interviews and recordings were transcribed and built into the narratives and linked to the theoretic frame of the study to substantiate findings. This research was conducted with close attention to ethical consideration and migrant confidentiality and protection. Lastly the limits to the study give opportunity gaps for further research, which will be discussed in Chapter 7. Nyamnjoh 75; Ngwane, This chapter explores the experiences and evidence of conviviality in migrant communities of work, where they engage with locals. I pay particular attention to the experiences that are shaped by the environment: the salon, the relationships between clients and hairdressers and friendships, because I want to show how, in personal and service-based interactions, migrants construct meaningful and cohesive relationships.
It is in the salon that locals and migrants come face to face and where life is lived communally that people are forced to integrate and accommodate each other. When clients walk into her salon, they start by greeting her first even though she is one of the stylists. She does hair superbly but at times she turns her customers to some of her girls if she is busy, especially if they are doing cheaper styles or braids that she feels will be good to help build their clientele or improve kills to one of the newer girls.
Clients sometimes decline and opt to wait till she is available. She has swift, long hands that work tirelessly with efficiencies of time and quality. When I try a new style, I ask my client for a photo so I can show others what I have done. You want clients to know you have the best skill and that you are up to date.
A picture in my portfolio helps me talk the client through the style. You have to show them that the style will be trendy on them. Clients feel excited and happy to try something new. Some, they come back and tell me people were asking about the style, who did it, what it is called, where they can do it. They know they are beautiful, most women do but it can be scary to try a new hairstyle so you have to be good to have clients and then you are friends for a long time.
Call me or WhatsApp, my friend. Sometimes they refer a friend and that is how we are connected. These encounters are short-lived and temporary. However, it is in these encounters that associations are built, trust is developed and repeat encounters loyalty is established. Mama or Mme cf. Comaroff and Comaroff, b is a way of bringing someone into the fold or including them in the imagined urban community.
It is based on the principle that no self is ever static. A being is always in a state of becoming, expressed in everyday social existence constantly in a practice of self-production. Concurrently, frontier beings or bushfallers like Mama Grace, Paulo as parent, child, teacher, elder, sibling, friend, employer, neighbour, colleague are seen to be living fluid and flexible lives of impermanence, equipped with the ability to embrace new spaces. Nyamnjoh, ; Mbembe, ; Nuttall, This shows that, as is predicted by the theoretical framework on the concept of conviviality, in a space where mingling occurs, difference assumes conviviality as a result of social and economics contact.
Nyamnjoh, 7; Isike, This also includes side-walk hawkers who regularly sell household goods, ready-to-eat food and appliances to salons to earn petty cash. She advises what is best for their face, head shapes, textures and gives them her best trends and room to negotiate with her. I know you will come back, you always do. It makes sense that they will come in again, I know hair is always a habit ritual you cannot look away from.
So I know my clients will return. Sometimes, I just change my profile picture or Instagram post and they WhatsApp to ask about it. When month-end comes they come with the money. And they think we all know each other in the salons because ladies move around too. Mama Lee is a mother and she enjoys the role she plays in the community of shifting and changing heads because it makes her feel important and needed.
She knows and says that South Africans are always looking for bargains or a discount and so to be known as someone kind increases her popularity, the closeness and rapport she shares with her clients. It brings her down to earth but also makes her respectable and cherished. With her paying clients she is able to be more specialised and constantly punting promotional beauty products with trial samples. Each week she has a new lace wig or makeup set of Mac or Kylie collection cheaper than at the Mac store down the road in Braamfontein, at ZAR compared to the ZARR store price that the customer would have had to pay.
Mama Lee charges small add-on fees with no real price catalogue to work from for treatments. Her ladies have to ask her what to charge the client they are working on and in most cases clients know to turn to her for the real fee that they are expected to pay. This is a system that seems to work for both sides because she is always in the shop and clients trust her. The act of sharing brings in other women, either roping in the ones in the shop or by bringing in new clients through word of mouth.
Hair in the salon removes the racial strata and classist categories that women may wear elsewhere in the world. In the salon, women are clients and this removes rank, prejudice or title because hair is the point of contact and what is central to the meeting of people of difference who find they are not so different after all. Mama Lee reflects the qualities of a frontier migrant that is able to show sympathy and place the interest of others above herself and her expandable ability to extend herself to kindness beyond just courtesy, shows her cosmopolitan outlook in immersing herself in interconnections and interrelations Nyamnjoh, Since conviviality is an action, it assumes reciprocity; Mama Lee is an insider of the haircare world, where inclusion is unavoidably embraced.
As mentioned before, this may include outsourcing base-braiding to employees form Swaziland, Malawi and Zimbabwe. Braiding is a time costly service so the stylists tend to persuade clients to put on a hairpiece or they outsource braiding to those with limited experience. Having previously worked predominantly in domestic work they default to haircare employment, mostly as assistants until they acquire and perfect their skill. Stylists may also downsize or outsource to cut down the time to finish braiding, best when twisted by Malawian swift technique client to rest heads on thighs performed by male stylists who surcharge for convenience.
They are also the hawkers downtown selling Brazilian bunches on the pavements to convert into wigs at a premium. Administrative work is often reserved for training staff who are young girls from surrounding countries in desperate need of work and often in precarious circumstances, such as pregnancy or new babies or straight out of secondary school without money to further their studies.
Now I have a five-month-old baby. She complained a lot and she shouted at me so I told my brother and we found me a new job. The neat, clean and relaxing ambiance of the salon is well stocked and professional, from equipment, global products and design. Asaze sees multiracial clients from surrounding corporate businesses because of his reputation. This is one of two salons in the surrounding of Braamfontein that are more upmarket.
Customers want to spend, they care. They want something that looks at cleanliness of the place. Client loyalty is inconsistent and often price dependent but Asaze distinguishes a good client by the expectation for quality treatment. By outsourcing professional skills, Asaze and Ogugu have elevated the reputation of haircare by black ownership and that is why they have a diverse clientele. Medrano, Asaze discusses the racial and classist nature of South Africans, as well as their issues with money.
Yes, our price here is different higher. So we trade on quality, there its cheap labour. Our business has more legs for profitability. The problem we face in this black industry is if something is nice, we are afraid, people are scared, some people they stay by the door and they ask, it is a black or white salon. They prefer to go to dirty place. In the example above, Asaze meets middle-class clients mostly during the week and, on weekends or special reservation clients who may be at the upper-rungs of the socio-economic ladder.
Clients with money seek out the luxury reward of the social regiment of going out to do hair and the ambiance. Furthermore, clients are understood to be in pursuit cf. Bourdieu to distinguish themselves through their social capital, extend notions of social autochthony by deliberately setting themselves out as superior, by class distinction, to people of lesser economic power and through style, so as to make a statement of being better. Ibid: This will be raised again in the discussion of racial and gender difference later on.
Most salons have two to three wash basins to manage time, and queues. Doing hair is always a negotiation. Hairdressers are flexible and will accommodate clients on price, which comprises a cost to business and the cash-strapped customers. Downsizing of pricing in haircare is reflective of a convivial practice of economic empathy in the community.
Kunene, in Mokgoro, which embraces altruistic reciprocity in society in all contexts of exchange. Are you busy today to work midmorning till we close? Mama Lee, late 30s, hairdresser and manager, Braamfontein, Nov Paulo, a head of household like many hairdressers with illegal statuses, did all sorts of jobs, mostly by outsourced his time and skills to salons over the years with low pay and learnt how to run a local business and save and set up the investment. He downsizes his business costs to be accessible by being affordable for highly priced weaves and treatments his customers who would otherwise not enjoy a better image.
He has outsourced export products of the best premium ingredients from Portuguese markets out of Angola and Mozambique that are top of the range for Brazilian and Afro- specific ethnic hair. As he prepares a colouring agent that he mixes as if mixing organic baking ingredients in his kitchen and demonstrated to the client, unlike pre- packaged kits of mass retail brands, gives a unique experience.
Money and compassion are means of practicing conviviality where teaching someone a skill or down-pricing to a client can be taken for a gift given to someone in need Ibid Ojong maintains that entrepreneurship is indispensable in the fabric of migrant lives, initiated to supplement livelihoods, notwithstanding the apprenticeship and dedicated learning that they acquire to gain the reputation of traders and business owners. Historically, hairdressers were inventors of container-salons, importers of braiding techniques and aftercare products.
Later we see indigenous targeted brands manufactured in Africa and weaves phenomenon from the globe also spearheaded in technique and distribution by travelling migrants influencing the consumer culture of South Africa. South Africans admit this fact, as they need haircare migrants to supply special services to meet their beauty needs. Migrants keep this insight low-key in doing business and very few of them partner with South Africans as business owners. Township salons are also largely subsidised by government grants to start businesses as part of programmes to establish private enterprise, and are promoted through multinationals that contractually bind the salons to stock their product and brand their names over the salon signature.
What the salon experience gives is the comfort and reliability of knowing that it is built of intermingling. Conviviality involves the appreciation of difference and seeking new ways of negotiating differences. It is an open-ended attitude adjustment that emphasises harmony. Nyamnjoh, They are the ones who own it.
Because even the owner of this salon is South African, she used to be a stylist and her husband is Nigerian. All of the salons in this area are like foreign, okay, this one maybe I will call local? Yah, this shop has three Zimbabweans, one Zambian, and Mozambican. Practising in haircare I trained. In fact I started in the industry doing marketing and also doing comedy and a guy asked me to market products, then I later trained in haircare and little did I know it would be my bread and butter.
South Africans are good in styling mostly. You see braiding is a God- given skill, which you learn over time with practice but South Africans are not good at this. Either they have a drinking problem or are busy looking for other jobs. This is echoed by Mama Grace, who resorts to micromanaging staff behaviour instead of being able to promote or trust them over her business affairs. I am the one who taught her. She may think I am overworking her but she is learning… Ehe truly. Most South Africans, I am sorry to say, they are lazy.
Many few of them, we cannot categorise them all, especially the ladies you can see. Because sometimes if I see clients, I am ready to do their hair. If there are two or three clients, she South African employee will be so cross. She wants to sit and talk. She derives a joy in talking. I have seen two like that. Some do work hard but not with their hearts. If they get what they want from you, they will really come back.
That is what I understand about South Africans. Even if you move from here to Sandton, they will look for you, while in my country it is not like that. It is common to hear four or more languages being spoken at the same time because the salons are not comfortable in one mother tongue. Mama Lee is often very friendly and inclusive but even she switches to other languages when she needs to address women privy to her mother tongue, usually in gossip of the Zimbabwean or South Africans in the room.
On enquiry later, Mama Lee explains that she has temporary staff under her, in whom she really does not have confidence so usually will talk over them on matters that require trust and sometimes indeed gossip or talk about private lives. In her eyes they are unreliable and unwilling to take on new clients and have no initiative to attract the client. She says she is disappointed that they have to be told every time what to think and what to do.
For her an hour is a possibility for three clients but the locals are happy to just sit and be preoccupied with cleaning even though to her the floors and the counters are never perfectly kept. She just woke up to see the sun go down here. You cannot do that.
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These also carry little risk because when the clients are done they cannot complain too much. This is not something she is willing to risk, because it means losing the client and potentially her friends to another salon. It is a common sentiment among migrants that South Africans are lazy. Most of these views stem from the hairdressing world. It is openly accepted and acknowledged that they are professional stylists; however they do not have family-centric, disciplined, committed and strong money-ethic that makes then reliable in business.
They want to you to go to school and get yourself a degree. They can do something for themselves to get some money. You can do with your hands. When I was small my father forced me to learn how to do hair. While I was still at school before 15 years I learnt how to do men haircut.
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Every weekend, every holiday I used to go to his salon and learn how to do haircuts. When I finished, I went to university. We foreigners learn to have our own business from a young age from our fathers, mothers. We are more entrepreneurs than go and look for a job like South Africans who want to find a job. Foreigners can take a risk and know how to survive which is very rare for South Africans.
When I quit my job I knew that I would survive. Money will make and it will come but at times when you give a good quality, trying your best, I am sure God will bless you. They put money first. How much are you gonna give me? So she gets used to it. Products for treatment such as conditioners and hair food and colourants where imported from Ghana and Portuguese markets, Hair fibres was either Nigerian brands and Brazilian, Peruvian and Indian which can also be tracked from Mozambique, Dubai and China products from local distributors and online stores such as Alibaba. These were also still coming from the hands of Nigerians and Mozambican networks.
I encountered two Burundians who own barber shops and strings of salons between Hillbrow, Berea and Braamfontein and in this Burundians are largely interested in the commercialisation of haircare and trading on profitable commodities. The largest stockist of haircare products and salon chain is a Burundi or Ghanaian family who owns a franchise of two outlets called General Hair Zone Store situated mainly on De Beer and Kotze Street, one of the busiest commerce and lifestyle spots in Braamfontein. Their unique selling point is selling 80 per cent imported quality hairpieces, products and bundles as a family run business with conventional operating hours, 8AM-to-5PM and expanded to franchise salon bars with at least 30 hairdressers bringing synergy between the shop and the salon seat next door and another across a busy intersection.
Their presence is a reminder that migrants are establishing the urban commercial hair city. Men comprised 48 per cent to 30 per cent in women count as entrepreneurs. This shows a growing number of women engaging in business beyond trading through much of the business of cross border trade is run and driven by men and the arrangements still dependent on family organization of employment.
These are significant as haircare has an established structure of governance by Nigerian and Congolese enterprisers who vastly run the informal sector of inner Johannesburg. On the side chair, Paulo was busy with a Brazilian 24inch hair piece to make a wig and to his left, a washed wig is left to dry. He is fully able to multitask and treat each one with delicate detail and care as if the owners are in the shop.
This is an exchange of intimacies and distances amongst hairdressers and with clients. The act of haircare shows conviviality of servitude, as it is methodical in the steps carried out to any treatment and involves a practice of care for the client and the root hair. Wearing gloves, using clean combs, avoiding burning scalp, responding to client pain-threshold sensitivities, asking permission, providing sitting entertainment, trimming split ends, explaining and doctoring client hair problems and solutions are the intimate customs of care in a salon.
Nyamnjoh believes frontier existence is shared out of interdependence and interconnection that leads to mutual empowerment for all That is why he reminds us that, when mobility and migration are described as messy, , human lives are interconnected and are able to bridge tensions of difference, challenging bounded notions of insiders and outsiders. The lines of difference are blurred by thee mutual encounters that force exchange.
It is the salon that brings people of difference together to appreciate their uniqueness. A recent study by Isike and Isike opposes Afrophobia, which is constructed out of the xenophobic labelling of immigrants as makwerekwere. Consumed human hair is as delicate and intricate as hair on our heads and their ethnically and climatic different origin, making it tricky to maintain textures, which are in fact foreign to owners.
Unlike synthetic fibres, human hair has a nature, a temperament by which it can be treated and not. Most women get hair so they can stretch it, straighten it and cut it and mould it by blending different hairs and colours to get many different styles. Wigs have the capacity to longevity and can be shaped in many forms before they deteriorate. It gives a woman a good feeling like she is walking with money on her head. It says she loves herself. Wigs are a commodity for us and for our client. Clients will pay lots of money for wigs. Nowadays, clients just want lace wigs to keep the hair for longer and to have options of styling it in different ways.
Back in the day before lace wigs, I used to sell fibres to salons, as well as buy and sell furniture back home, on the side with my husband. Sometimes things were cheaper in KZN, so we would go there and I worked there for some time. But today, women wear the real thing. We even sold schoolbooks and stationary. When I sell hair, I bring in lots of it in small portions from Mozambique, from other partner traders who have travelled outside, who are based there. I work in the salon because I love it.
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Lace wigs and weaves have a currency that is associated with having social status and self-love. You make no profit and what about the merchandise in my store? No, I tell my ladies always to warn clients when the piece is not good. But I know that when someone wants hair I usually refer them to these guys migrant ladies in the Shop. So they have that reputation, thina, we , we have styling reputation. Women must cut, style and wear hair in the sun, it rubs against clothes and pillows, wigs travel in open spaces and shops, hair finds itself in kitchens while cooking, in the steam of doing laundry and chores or work.
Hair is felt, brushed, pressed, twisted and twined. Hair wigs get stored in cardboard, some are wrapped and re-boxed and some are hung up in closets. Hair evolves on its own as its owners make it their own.
Wigs need to be washed and tended to in the same way root hair is taken care of. Women come into the salon to have their weaves treated, sometimes off the head and back on while they watch a soapie, or as a drop-off. Downsizing benefits clients on convenience and hairdressers on improved cost and valorising manufactured hair.
The caregiver takes hair into their hands for both the human head and weave piece as treatment for both is the same with clients willing to spend on time and money. Women cannot resist doing their hair; even when they come to wash the weave, there is often an upselling opportunity to bill because they will also be getting minor treatment for their own head and a thin braiding to make the base flat for the wig.
This is a routine that women enjoy and bring into their care regimen. Nyamnjoh et al. In this study wigs and weaves are related to the economic currency and consumption of money and goods. This shows the migratory ecosystem of haircare manufacturing and street beautification of hair between different bodies. Hair may be silent Nyamnjoh and Fuh, but hair is in control of who manages it and how it is traded.
The communities of enterprising migrants know how much demand this creates, so they do not disclose their sources, nor are they interested in selling high volumes in the store. Most hair pieces travel into South Africa via cargos and border passages transferred from middleman markets such as Angola, Nigeria and Mozambique. The importation currencies of hair create a closed network of importers and traders, who, keeping themselves under the radar, control how hair moves around the city.
The hair pieces in these stores hang from the ceiling, arranged by length, tones and textures. They are pulled and drawn by a curtain handrail which is used to unhook the piece from the hinges and styles are displayed on mannequins with price tags. Most traders operate without having a working catalogue by which they can translate or market product types and prices based on clients; students, working ladies and young mothers be charged differently.
This keeps the demand high and the information on hair confidential processed from person to person. In Braamfontein there are only three large stockists of hairpieces and these are big and long-standing chain stores, vigilant safeguards patrol the entrances and the main store with men doing the selling of hair pieces. Hairdressers say South Africans do not travel, so they are not up to date with trends in other forward forging markets.
This also means that they are not the most inspired enterprisers. Hair from Europe, Asia and Africa is in great demand. Women embrace lifestyles that command beauty through quality hair and South Africans do not know the ins and outs of trading hair because they are not in networks or the space, where hair is traded. They largely consume it, unlike their African counterparts, who know how to buy hair, where to buy hair and how it is marketable. This also commoditises the space of migrant enterprise in the city because they own the products and space that would otherwise be invisible and inaccessible to locals.
They facilitate the difficult and unequal process of globalisation so that haircare patrons can be a part of the distant world they see and aspire to, however temporarily. Weaving wigs is the latest craze, because customers get to throw them on and off as they require.
The stylists or weavers know this and so will never show custodians how the pieces are planted so that they can continue to create the demand and make money in the process. Weaved lace wigs mean women enjoy different styles: today a curly throw-on and tomorrow a recycled straight cut. A wig can be shifted, treated like a real head and creatively adjusted to suit the face and head shape or outfit.