- Exploring the middle classes in Nairobi: from modes of production to modes of sophistication
- African Studies Review
- Volume | Issue number
- 57 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This article explores the middle classes as cultural practice by focusing on the young professionals, or "yuppies," of Nairobi. Young professionals are particularly interesting to study because they are the population that has reaped the benefits of a historical development of socioeconomic opportunities. They also occupy an interesting position in the context of local preoccupations with being modern or "sophisticated" in Kenya and in terms of the expectations and assumptions of previous generations. The article touches briefly on the history of class analysis in African studies and then, departing from Marx and following a Weberian analysis, shows how three factors are important in analyzing the middle classes and the forging of class identities in a globalizing world: access to education, resulting in salaried occupations; consumption patterns; and modern self-perceptions.
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