Social security as a marker of class in Africa

By  LENA KROEKER

Jean and John Comaroff’s book “Theory from the South” (2012) eloquently argues that our theoretical frameworks predominantly come from the global north, however, studies on the global south provide us with much better empirical material to verify these theories. Taking this idea seriously would mean to challenge our common understanding of the world and to feed ideas from the south back into our theoretical frameworks.
Continue reading “Social security as a marker of class in Africa”

Cruel hope: Hanging on to the promise of the good life in Cairo

By HARRY PETTIT

I wish to consider a middle-class life as a kind of hopeful attachment to the future. Much existing research on the middle-class looks at the forms of employment, consumption, education, sociality, and politics that define and enact middle class-ness in the present. However, a middle-class life – and life in capitalism in general – is an intrinsically future-orientated project, in which a sense that there is “more to life than what exists for us in the here and now” is an inherent component (Jackson, 2011, xi). There is always something more to be done, getting a better job, buying a house, or securing a good education for one’s children. Continue reading “Cruel hope: Hanging on to the promise of the good life in Cairo”

How ‘classy’ is the African middle class?

By HENNING MELBER

The middle classes in the global South gained growing attention since the turn of the century mainly through their rapid ascendancy in the Asian emerging economies. One of the side effects of the economic growth during these ‘fat years’, which also benefitted the resource rich economies on the African continent, was a rapid relative increase of monetary income for a growing number of households. Many of these in the lower segments of society crossed the defined poverty levels of US$ 1.25 a day. The ominous term ‘middle class’ was part of the effort, to quantify this trend and at the same time to classify it.  Continue reading “How ‘classy’ is the African middle class?”

Middle classes on the rise: Concepts of the future among freedom, consumption, tradition and moral

Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies. Sub-Project ‘Middle Classes on the Rise’

Place: University of Bayreuth, Germany
Project leaders: Erdmute Alber, Dieter Neubert

The sub project focuses on social representations of future concepts and their contexts. The project will focus on current concepts of the future, their protagonists and addressees in the middle classes, the social environment, their genesis and their entanglement with current processes of social change. The core question of the project is: To what extent are various concepts of the future and a societal response to them tied back to heterogeneous socio-cultural contexts in which African middle classes act? More generally speaking: In which social environment do future concepts arise and in where do they unfold their impacts? Continue reading “Middle classes on the rise: Concepts of the future among freedom, consumption, tradition and moral”

Transformations of Civic Society – International Graduate School Halle Tôkyô

Place: University of Halle-Wittenberg, Germany; University of Tokyo
Project leader: Manfred Hettling (Halle-Wittenberg)

The International Graduate School examines the conditions under which structures of ‘civic society’ were established and transformed in Germany and Japan after the 18th and 19th century, respectively. The Graduate School does so by adapting a comparative and interdisciplinary approach. Continue reading “Transformations of Civic Society – International Graduate School Halle Tôkyô”

Why this blog? Reflections on hope and critique in a globalized world

By CHRISTOF DEJUNG

In times of political radicalization and destabilization, increasing economic inequality and attraction to authoritarian leaders across the globe, a blog on global middle classes seems to require justification. The focus on such a topic was, one could argue, either an expression of both liberal naivety and an obsession with global development according to the Western model or – worse – an indication of being attracted to a cozy fairytale according to which everyone was able to achieve an adequate standard of living if only trying hard enough. Continue reading “Why this blog? Reflections on hope and critique in a globalized world”