The Laziness Myth: Narratives of Work and the Good Life in South Africa (Hardcover)
When people cannot find good work, can they still find good lives? By investigating this question in the context of South Africa, where only 43 percent of adults are employed, Christine Jeske invites readers to examine their own assumptions about how work and the good life do or do not coincide. The Laziness Myth challenges the widespread premise that hard work determines success by tracing the titular laziness myth, a persistent narrative that disguises the systems and structures that produce inequalities while blaming unemployment and other social ills on the so-called laziness of particular class, racial, and ethnic groups.
Jeske offers evidence of the laziness myth's harsh consequences, as well as insights into how to challenge it with other South African narratives of a good life. In contexts as diverse as rapping in a library, manufacturing leather shoes, weed-whacking neighbors' yards, negotiating marriage plans, and sharing water taps, the people described in this book will stimulate discussion on creative possibilities for seeking the good life in and out of employment, in South Africa and elsewhere.
About the Author
Christine Jeske is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. She is the author of Into the Mud and coauthor of This Ordinary Adventure.