We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Print Price: $94.99

328 pp.
28 illus., 235 mm x 156 mm


Publication date:
April 1999

Imprint: OUP US

The Apartheid State in Crisis

Political Transformation of South Africa, 1975-1990

Robert M. Price

Despite the considerable attention paid to South Africa in recent years, this text is unique in providing a comprehensive analysis of South Africa's politics through the 1980's. Robert Price argues that the apparent stability of South Africa's apartheid regime has masked a profound political transformation underway since 1975. The work examines how government policy, economic development, domestic opposition, and international actors have gradually but inexorably eroded the foundation of white political power. Price elucidates the dynamic relationship between these factors and their combined role in altering the political substructure underlying South Africa's official political system. He provides a novel framework for assessing the likely mode of political transition in the 1990's and draws lessons from the South African case for our understanding of political transformation worldwide.


  • "The first scholarly analysis of the political transformation in South Africa between 1975 and 1990....A skillful analysis of the way in which the apartheid state's initiatives to modernize its rule were thwarted by black civic associations, trade unions, and most important, the ANC."--Contemporary Sociology
  • "As an integrative study on this seminal period of South African political development to be used in the classroom, this book has succeeded briliantly. This is the first text that I have seen that really does provide a coherent and convincing analytical framework and it deserves wide use as an introductory study."--International Journal of African Historical Studies
  • "Easily digestible synthesis of wisdom from dozens of the best-informed observers of South Africa, seasoned with the author's own logical and jargon-free analytical framework....A welcome contribution."--Foreign Affairs
  • "A very timely addition to the growing body of literature on South Africa. Well-written and informative and analytically sound."--Jeremy Curtoys, Tarleton State University
  • "An excellent and sophisticated study of recent developments in South Africa."--Daniel Kramer, College of Staten Island, CUNY
  • "A very impressive job of synthesis and analysis that makes a significant contribution to the current literature on South Africa....It comes near to being 'the one book you should read if you want to understand South Africa today'....It should have broad appeal and utility for the student (graduate and undergraduate) and the serious reader who wants to get beyond newspaper coverage and have a theoretical but jargon-free analysis."--Gail Gerhart, Columbia University
  • "Outstanding and timely. Its greatest strength is the way in which theory and narrative are interwoven to provide a clear and persuasive interpretation of political change in South Africa....Pitched at just the right level with just the right balance between theory and history to become a standard work in courses in contemporary African politics."--Michael Clough, Council on Foreign Relations
  • "That [The Apartheid State in Crisis] by Robert M. Price is without peer as the best researched and most authoritative history of this period of reform now on our bookshelf."--The Review of Politics
  • "Price's book is a stunning accomplishment. It towers over recent analyses of the South African situation and puts to shame recent historical sociological treatments of revolution that amount to histories written to illustrate a theoretical assertion like the autonomy of the state or the nature of class relations between lord and peasant....Price's keen insights come not from some overarching theoretical perspective that by insisting that it explains everything, explains nothing, but from familiarity with historical detail and sociological method."--American Political Science Review

Introduction: Political Change and the South African State
1. Backdrop: The Securing of White Supremacy
2. Cracks in the Monolith
3. Confronting Contradictions
4. Change and Continuity: Pretoria's Reform Program
5. From Reform to Insurrection
6. Chaos and Transformation: The Insurrectionary Process
7. International Reaction and Domestic Realignment
8. Pretoria's Response: From Autarky and Counter-Revolution to Negotiations
9. An End to White Supremacy?

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Robert M. Price is at University of California, Berkeley.

There are no related titles available at this time.

Special Features

  • Offers vivid accounts of recent events that continue to shape the future of South Africa
  • Objective, even-handed, and readable
  • Unusually broad in scope--shows how the interaction of domestic and international forces have brought South Africa to the brink of democracy