The Rise of Africa’s Middle Class

Myths, Realities and Critical Engagements
Editor(s):
  • Publication Date: March 2017
  • Dimensions and Pages: 234 x 156 mm; 288 pp; Softcover
  • Paperback EAN: 978-1-77614-082-4
  • Rights: Southern Africa
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 350.00

A very timely work with an impressive empirical width, and a sharp, well-referenced analytical edge
Göran Therborn, author of Cities of Power

As this empirically grounded book richly demonstrates, there would be little left to write home about being middle class, even by modest African standards, if middle class Africans were to seriously consider including fellow citizens in the personal success they are credited with.
Francis B. Nyamnjoh, University of Cape Town

Subjects recent hype about the rise of the middle class in Africa to skeptical and critical analysis. An essential read for all engaging with the middle classes in development debate.
Gordon Crawford, Coventry University

Across Africa the narrative of “Africa rising” has taken root in a burgeoning middle class. Ambitious and increasingly affluent, this group symbolizes the values and hopes of the new Africa, and they are regarded as important agents of both economic development and democratic change. This narrative, however, obscures the complex and often ambiguous role that this group actually plays in African societies. The Rise of Africa’s Middle Class brings together a diverse range of economists, political scientists, and development experts to provide a much needed corrective, overturning the received wisdom within development circles and providing a fresh new perspective on social transformations in contemporary Africa.
Featuring a wide array of case studies from across sub-Saharan Africa and covering highly topical issues, including black middle-class support for the ANC in South Africa and anti-government activism in Nigeria, this collection of essays is a timely, on-the-ground look at the realities behind the idea of Africa rising.

Introduction: ‘Somewhere Above Poor but Below Rich’ – Explorations into the Species of the African Middle Class(es) – Henning Melber
1. African Middle Classes: Lessons from Transnational Studies and a Research Agenda – Carola Lentz
2. Human Development and the Construction of Middle Classes – Tim Stoffel
3. Africa’s Middle Class, Africa’s Entrepreneurs and the ‘Missing Middle’ – Oluyele Akinkugbe and Karl Wohlmuth
4. Deconstructing the Myth of the African Middle Class – Sirkku K. Hellsten
5. Kenya – an Unconscious Middle Class? Between Regional-ethnic Political Mobilisation and Middle-class Lifestyles – Dieter Neubert
6. Middle Class Activism in Nigeria: From Nationalist Struggle to Social Media Campaign – Nkwachukwu Orji
7. Emerging Middle-class Political Subjectivities in Post-war Angola – Jon Schubert
8. The Middle Class of Mozambique and the Politics of the Blank Slate – Jason Sumich
9. South Africa’s Black Middle Class Professionals – Amuzweni L. Ngoma
10. The Middle Class of Dar es Salaam and Kiswahili Video-fi lms – Vicensia Shule
Conclusion: How Much Class Have the African Middle Classes? – Henning Melber
About the contributors

Henning Melber is senior adviser and director emeritus of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation. He is extraordinary professor at the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria, and at the Centre for Africa Studies, University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, as well as senior adviser at the Nordic Africa Institute.

  1. A review in Africa Renewal –  http://www.un.org/africarenewal/magazine/may-july-2017/africa-books-rise-africa%E2%80%99s-middle-class
  2. A very timely work with an impressive empirical width, and a sharp, well-referenced analytical edge
    — Göran Therborn, author of Cities of Power
  3.    As this empirically grounded book richly demonstrates, there would be little left to write home about being middle class, even by modest African standards, if middle class Africans were to seriously consider including fellow citizens in the personal success they are credited with.  — Francis B. Nyamnjoh, University of Cape Town
  4.  Subjects recent hype about the rise of the middle class in Africa to skeptical and critical analysis. An essential read for all engaging with the middle classes in development debate. – — Gordon Crawford, Coventry University

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