The muddled definition of a class in between

LENA KROEKER

I do not tweet, never had an account on facebook, nor do I own a car, a microwave or a flat screen TV. Being unmarried and a mum, I live in a rented apartment (70 m2) and work on contracts which are usually shorter than one year. The highest educational achievement of the head of household…? Well, I hold a PhD, but for the sake of making my point let’s assume the household head is male and more into business than education. For sure, marketing research would not place me in the middle class because of my limited consumerism. How about you? Are you in the global middle class? Continue reading “The muddled definition of a class in between”

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The middle class in Africa: Comparative perspectives and lived experiences

By CLAIRE MERCER, DEBORAH JAMES and CHARLOTTE LEMANSKI

Event type: Conference
Date: 7-9- September 2016
Place: University of Cambridge (UK)
Convernors: Claire Mercer (LSE), Deborah James (LSE), Charlotte Lemanski (Cambridge)

Paradoxically, while in Europe and America the old middle class is declining, in the Global South its newer incarnation is on the rise. Interest in the ‘African middle classes’ as an identity-based group has exploded in recent years, becoming the contemporary buzz-topic for scholarly and public agendas. Continue reading “The middle class in Africa: Comparative perspectives and lived experiences”

Moving on up: Symbolic boundary creation and upward mobility amongst middle and professional classes in the global South

Thematic Session at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association

Place: Montréal, Canada

Date: August 12-15, 2017

Session Organizers: Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen (NYU Abu Dhabi), Jules Naudet (Centre de Sciences Humaines, New Delhi)

Over the last three decades, global inequality has become increasingly characterized by within-country rather than between-country income inequality (Firebaugh 2003). And while there is contestation over the role globalization plays in this process (Giddens 1999), the diffusion of neoliberalism has undoubtedly shaped the way in which mobility is experienced and symbolic boundaries are traced across the world. This panel seeks to critically examine the contemporary reconfiguration of this stratification amongst upper-middle, middle and professional classes in global South sites where these processes are particularly rampant. It comprises papers that decode the ways in which established social structures and traditional hierarchies in these countries are being renegotiated through social, cultural and economic processes. Continue reading “Moving on up: Symbolic boundary creation and upward mobility amongst middle and professional classes in the global South”

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”

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”

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”

The middle class in Africa: comparative perspectives and lived experiences

Event type: 4 panels at the ASAUK biennial conference
Date: 7-9 September 2016.
Place:  University of Cambridge
Convernors: Charlotte Lemanski (Cambridge) Deborah James (LSE) Claire Mercer (LSE)

 

Continue reading “The middle class in Africa: comparative perspectives and lived experiences”

The new middle class in the global South

Event type: 2-day workshop
Date: 21 and 22 September 2015
Place: Wiser, Wits University (South Africa)
Convernors: Maxim Bolt (Wits), Deborah James (LSE), Sarah Nuttall (Wits), George St. Clare (LSE)

Continue reading “The new middle class in the global South”