The Nubians of Kibera ‘Revisited’: Detribalized Natives, Slum Dwellers, Middle Class?

  • Johanna Sarre
Part of the Frontiers of Globalization book series (FOG)


This chapter takes a diachronic perspective on middle classes in Africa, questioning the teleological assumptions connected to the ‘rise’ of new African middle classes. The Nubians of Kibera are an example of a historical African middle class produced by the (colonial) state that has, over the last half century, experienced diversification and, in most cases, downward social mobility. The author re-examines the history of the Kiberan Nubians as a trajectory of ‘classness’ rather than ethnogenesis. In line with Spronk, she applies Weber’s (From Max Weber. Essays in Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946) distinction between class position (economic power) and social status (honour or prestige) and Bourdieu’s (Distinction. A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984) expanded notions of ‘capital’.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Sarre
    • 1
  1. 1.Bayreuth UniversityBayreuthGermany

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