Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

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Manuela Bank-Zillmann

Telefon: +49 345 55-21004
Telefax: +49 345 55-27404

Universitätsplatz 8/9
06108 Halle


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Claire Mercer: Land, Landscape and Lifestyle - middle class boundary work in suburban Dar es Salaam

Termin Dienstag, 6. Juni 2017, 16.15 - 18.00 Uhr
Veranstaltungsart Vorlesung/Vortrag
Einrichtung Philosophische Fakultät I
Veranstalter Max-Planck-Institut für ethnologische Forschung und Seminar für Ethnologie der MLU
Veranstaltungsort Großer Seminarraum
Straße Advokatenweg 36
PLZ/Ort 06114 Halle (Saale)
Ansprechpartner Bettina Mann
Telefon +49 345-2927501


This paper brings sociological approaches to the boundary work of class into conversation with human geography. Boundary work is the socio-economic, cultural and moral values that individuals mobilise in order to distinguish themselves from others. I argue that attention to the explicitly spatial and material elements of boundary work is a necessary step towards an analysis of social class in the contemporary African city. The paper’s empirical focus is the new self-built, and mostly unplanned, suburban landscapes being built by the middle classes in Dar es Salaam. The paper argues that the middle classes and the suburbs are mutually constitutive. It is based on interviews with residents and local government officials in the city’s northern suburbs. I discuss the material, discursive and lived practices of middle class boundary work in relation to land, landscape and lifestyle. The suburban landscape emerges as an arena in which people are involved in daily small-scale struggles to access and use urban space. Middle class attempts to shape suburban space are conducted against their class others, the poor and a state ‘elite’, and sometimes with, sometimes against, middle class neighbours. If the middle classes do not presently constitute a coherent political-economic force, they are nevertheless transforming the city’s former northern peri-urban zones into desirable suburban residential neighbourhoods.



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