Conference Report: Middle Classes, Protest, and Social Change in Africa and Beyond

Antje Daniel, Florian Stoll


South Africa is one of the world’s most unequal societies. Social disparities provoke massive social protests, considered to be among the most frequent worldwide. Some of these are class-based, and members of the middle class are often perceived as part or even at the core of such initiatives. However, neither in South Africa nor in other cases is it clear how stratification – and middle-class positions in particular – relate to and translate into protest and political goals for social change. Against this backdrop, a conference on middle classes and protest, which took place from 17 to 21 March 2017 at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS), explored and discussed how middle classes and social protest are linked in African settings and other contexts of the so-called global South.

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