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”

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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”

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 global bourgeoisie: The rise of the middle classes in the age of empire

Event type: International conference
Date: 27-29 August 2015
Place: Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge
Convernors: Christof Dejung (Cambridge/Konstanz), David Motadel (Cambridge/Edinburgh), Jürgen Osterhammel (Konstanz)

This conference provides a new approach to the emerging research field of global social history by examining the emergence of ‘middle classes’ and ‘bourgeois cultures’ across the globe in the long nineteenth century, as well as their encounters in imperial and non-imperial contexts. It is innovative for the following two reasons: First, it argues that the nineteenth century saw the establishment of social groups all over the world that shared many characteristics with the European bourgeoisie, and could therefore be described as ‘middle classes’. Second, the conference reveals that the making of the middle classes across the globe can only be explained by considering the rising transfer of ideas and goods between the Western and non-Western worlds. Continue reading “The global bourgeoisie: The rise of the middle classes in the age of empire”