The increased presence of Somalis has brought much change to East African towns and cities in recent decades, change that has met with ambivalence and suspicion, especially within Kenya. This volume demystifies Somali residence and mobility in urban East Africa, showing its historical depth, and exploring the social, cultural and political underpinnings of Somali-led urban transformation. In so doing, it offers a vivid case study of the transformative power of (forced) migration on urban centres, and the intertwining of urbanity and mobility. The volume will be of interest for readers working in the broader field of migration, as well as anthropology and urban studies.

Paperback version to be published in August 2022

Reviews by John Paul Kasujja in Ethnic and Racial Studies, 43 (13): 2474-2476 (2020), Serah Shani in City & Society, doi:10.1111/ciso.12345 (2020), Nasra Smith in African Studies Quarterly 20 (1): 129-130 (2021) and Daniel Thompson in Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 28(1): 366-367 (2022)

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This volume challenges the concept of the ‘new African middle class’ with new theoretical and empirical insights into the changing lives in Sub-Saharan Africa. Diverse middle classes are on the rise, but models of class based on experiences from other regions of the world cannot be easily transferred to the African continent. Empirical contributions, drawn from a diverse range of contexts, address both African histories of class formation and the political roles of the continent’s middle classes, and also examine the important interdependencies that cut across inter-generational, urban-rural and class divides. This thought-provoking book argues emphatically for a revision of common notions of the 'middle class', and for the inclusion of insights 'from the South' into the global debate on class.

 

Middle Classes in Africa will be of interest to students and scholars across a range of disciplines, as well as NGOs and policy makers with an interest in African societies.

Reviews by Henning Melber in Africa Spectrum, 53 (1): 129–131 (2018) and Reinhart Kößler, Das Reden von der Mitte – ideologischer Ballast eines Verlegenheitsbegriffs. Soziologische Revue, 43 (1): 64–71 (2020)

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Anhand von verschiedenen autobiographischen Erzählungen ostafrikanischer Konvertiten zum Islam untersucht Tabea Scharrer, welche Rolle die Konversion im jeweiligen Lebensverlauf spielte. Sie zeigt, dass die Begründungsmuster entgegen gängiger Vermutungen nicht die Ursache für die Konversion abbilden, sondern vielmehr von den aktiven islamischen Missionsbewegungen beeinflusst sind. Im multireligiösen Ostafrika führt dies dazu, dass das Element der religiösen Abgrenzung eine große Rolle in den Narrativen einnimmt. Zudem sind die Erzählungen von individueller Suche nach einem Platz in der Gesellschaft geprägt.

Review by Jörn Thielmann in Islamic Africa, 7: 295-298 (2016)