This book is drawn from diverse studies that grapple with Black Middle Class experiences in contemporary and historical South Africa. The chapters present research from diverse disciplines, and tackle issues related to being black and middle class, using both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Like many other social phenomena, the black middle class concept is seen as complex and not easy to pin down. As a result, conceptualizations from these chapters are dynamic and relevant for understanding the position of the black middle class in contemporary South African society. An interesting dynamic explored by contributors is the critical engagement with the usually reductionist notions of black middle class experiences as ahistorical, homogenous experiences of a group of conspicuous consumers. These limiting notions are unpacked and repositioned in how the book is structured. This book was published as a special issue of Development Southern Africa.
Table of Contents
Introduction: South Africa’s emergent middle class Grace Khunou
1. Growth of the middle class: Two perspectives that matter for policy Justin Visagie
2. The emergent middle class in contemporary South Africa: Examining and comparing rival approaches Ronelle Burger, Cindy Lee Steenekamp, Servaas van der Berg and Asmus Zoch
3. Understanding consumption patterns of the established and emerging South African black middle class Ronelle Burger, Megan Louw, Brigitte Barbara Isabel de Oliveira Pegado and Servaas van der Berg
4. Life chances and class: Estimating inequality of opportunity for children and adolescents in South Africa Asmus Zoch
5. Rethinking Bundy: Land and the black middle class – accumulation beyond the peasantry Nkululeko Mabandla
6. What middle class? The shifting and dynamic nature of class position Grace Khunou
7. ‘Growing up’ and ‘moving up’: Metaphors that legitimise upward social mobility in Soweto Detlev Krige
8. Food, malls and the politics of consumption: South Africa’s new middle class Sophie Chevalier
Grace Khunou is Associate Professor in the Sociology Department at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. She writes creatively and academically, and has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and written chapters in edited books. She has also presented papers in international and local conferences. Her research interests are focused on gender and social policy, the Black Middle Class, narrative research, and transformation in Higher Education. She is a member and convener of the health working group for the South African Sociological Association, and a member of the International Sociological Association. She has recently co-edited a special issue on Father Connections for the Open Family Studies Journal, and a Special Issue on the emergent Black Middle Class for the journal Development Southern Africa.