Paper $34.95 ISBN: 9781783607136 Published December 2016 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781783607143 Published December 2016 For sale in North and South America only

The Rise of Africa’s Middle Class

Edited by Henning Melber

The Rise of Africa’s Middle Class

Edited by Henning Melber

Distributed for Zed Books

288 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2016
Paper $34.95 ISBN: 9781783607136 Published December 2016 For sale in North and South America only
Cloth $95.00 ISBN: 9781783607143 Published December 2016 For sale in North and South America only
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.
Contents
Acknowledgments
 
‘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 the middle classes in the Global South
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 mobilization 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-films
Vicensia Shule
 
How much class have the African middle classes?
Henning Melber
 
About the contributors
Index
 
Review Quotes
Göran Therborn, author of Cities of Power
“A very timely work with an impressive empirical width and a sharp, well-referenced analytical edge.”
Francis B. Nyamnjoh, University of Cape Town
“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."
Gordon Crawford, Coventry University
“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.”
Dominique Darbon, Sciences Po Bordeaux
“The first systematic examination of the concept of an African middle class. It provides a valuable conceptual discussion along with in-depth case studies.  This timely and critical analysis also offers meaningful alternative interpretations of the major social transformations taking place.”
Uma Kothari, University of Manchester

“This intellectually ambitious and innovative collection combines sophisticated analysis with detailed case studies. Timely and hugely relevant, it marks a leap forward in our understanding of the middle classes.”

Journal of Southern African Studies
“This readable set of essays offers nuance throughout. . . . The overarching theme that unites this collection is an original analysis of how to define, measure and understand the changing cultural, political, and economic identity of those Africans in between the elites and the destitute.”
South African Journal of International Affairs
The Rise of Africa’s Middle Class bursts with argument. . . . It is comprehensive in its review of the existing literature on the concept of the middle class, as well as its engagement with conventional definitions often used by economists. It goes beyond empirical data to offer theoretical reflections and perspectives of values.”
African Studies Quarterly
“Polemic, bold, engaging, and an excellent read. It is a comprehensive account of the middle class and development debates in Africa, and the relationship with democratic change is commendably noteworthy.”
Africa Today
“A much-needed addition to the literature on the political mobilization of the middle class.”
Journal of Modern African Studies
“Its combination of broader regional approaches and case studies from six countries provides an unprecedented overview of the relationships between contemporary economic, political, and social circumstances and local constructions of class. . . . A valuable read.”
Canadian Journal of African Studies
“A worthy addition to the landmark Africa Now series of books produced by Uppsala’s Nordic Africa Institute and Zed Books.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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