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”

Advertisements

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”

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?”

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”