Enjoy exclusive insights in the process of Sam Hopkins´ and John Kamicha´s collaborative project Thika Road Mad Boys_Until Death do us part_ Wazungu Wausi (Black White Men), while they´re exploring the emerging biking culture in Kenya´s capital Nairobi.
Get some insights and additional information on James Muriuki´s photography and video installation Untitled, exploring the materialistic manifestations of Middle Class aspirations in Kenya.
Find some interesting and enlightning information on Syowia Kiambi´s project My Mother´s Mother, dealing with women´s role in creating middle class futures in Kenya and Germany, as well as her second project Rose´s Relocation, dealing with one of her performance characters, Rose.
Dieter Neubert holds the chair in development sociology at the University of Bayreuth. His research areas include sociology of Africa (including social structure), sociology of violent conflicts, social change, and development policy. His regional research focus is Africa, particularly East Africa. He has also conducted research in Southeast Asia (Vietnam and Thailand).
Selected current publications:
Dieter Neubert: Die Fallen der „Rumsfeld Utopie“. Das widersprüchliche Verhältnis zwischen Mittelschichten, Zivilgesellschaft und Demokratie. . Festschrift für Reinhart Kößler. In: Hauck, Gerhard; Lenz, Ilse, Wehr, Ingrid; Wienold, Hanns (Hg.): Entwicklung, Gewalt, Gedächtnis. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot 2015, 128-141
Antje Daniel und Dieter Neubert 2014: Middle classes and political instability in Kenya: Civil society organizations during the post-election violence of 2007/8. In: Dominique Darbon (Hg.), Les classes moyennes en Afrique. Enjeux politiques d’une catégorie incertaine. Paris : Karthala, 155-184
Dieter Neubert 2014: What is “middle class”? In search of an appropriate concept. In: Middle East – Topics & Arguments Vol. 2, 23-35
Dieter Neubert, Christine Scherer (eds.), 2014: Agency and changing world views in Africa. Berlin, Hamburg, Münster: Lit Verlag
Artur Bogner & Dieter Neubert 2013: Negotiated peace, denied justice? The case of West Nile (Northern Uganda). Africa Spectrum, 48 (3), 55-84
Antje Daniel & Dieter Neubert (eds.) 2012: Translating globalization, world society and modernity in everyday life. Theoretical reflections and empirical perspectives. Special issue. Sociologus 2012, issue 1
Andreas Neef & Dieter Neubert 2011: Stakeholder participation in agricultural research projects: a conceptual framework for reflection and decision-making. Agriculture and Human Values 28, 179-194
Florian Stoll holds a Magister in Philosophy and Sociology and received his PhD in 2011 from Albrecht-Ludwigs-University in Freiburg on “Forms of temporal habitus in Recive, Brasil. He teaches at the University of Bayreuth and since May 1st, 2013 he holds the Post-Doc position of the research Project Middle Classes on the Rise: Concepts of the Future among Freedom, Consumption, Tradition and Moral, which belongs to the Bayreuth Academy Project “FUTURE AFRICA – Visions in Time
He is also part ofthe transnational research group “Global Inequality, Social Classification and Existance” under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Boike Rehbein (Humboldt-Universität Berlin).
Some of his publications include:
Stoll, Florian 2012: Leben im Moment? Milieus in Brasilien und ihr Umgang mit Zeit. Frankfurt/Main; Campus.
Stoll, Florian; Leithäuser, Thomas (Herausgeber; 2014) Mirian Geldenberg (Autorin) (Hrsg.) 2014: Untreu. Konstanz; UVK.
Exhibitions and Festivals (Selection)
Ato Malinda lives and works in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She has a Masters of Fine Art (MFA) from Transart Institute, New York and is a PhD candidate at Leiden University and the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. She works in the mediums of performance, drawing, painting, installation and video, as well as has a growing interest in object-making. Her previous work has focused on Afrocentricity based in a postcolonial context. Within this context, Malinda has focused on the hybrid nature of African identity, contesting notions of authenticity. Through her research, Malinda has discovered numerous histories of intermingling of Africans through colonialism, but also trade, with other cultures. In addition, Malinda focuses on ontology of the female experience pertaining to Africa, examining gender and ideologies surrounding the history and current state of gender and sexuality in Africa. She has exhibited at Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK) in Berlin (2011), Museum für Moderne Kunst Frankfurt am Main (2014), the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution (2015), Salon Urbain de Douala in Cameroon (2010) and the Karen Blixen Museum in Copenhagen (2010).
Selected Solo Exhibitions
2013 GAMES, Savvy Contemporary, Berlin
2011 Incommensurable Identities, im Rahmen von IMAGINE – towards an ecoaesthetic, The Aarhus Art Building, Aarhus
2009 Dans Mon Brun, Doual’art, Douala
2009 Solo exhibition at Goethe Institute Nairobi: Looking at Art; Looking at Africa; Looking at Art, Prison Sex II.
Selected Group Exhibitions
2012 Untitled January 2012, Roots Contemporary, Brüssel
2011 the Urban Cultures of Global Prayers, Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK), Berlin
2011 One Minutes Africa, at Townhouse Gallery, Cairo
2011 FOCUS 11, Contemporary Art Africa, Art 42 Basel
2011 Fertile, South London Gallery, CONTEMPORARY AFRICA ON SCREEN, London
2011 Kaddou Diggen, La Paroles aux Femmes, Women Speak Out, Galerie Le Manège, Dakar
2010 Salon Urbain de Douala, SUD2010: Douala Triennial, Douala
2010 II Trienal Luanda 2010. Luanda
2010 My World IMAGES, Contemporary Arts Festival 2010, Copenhagen, Denmark. Rebuilding, Remembering & Renewing, Karen Blixen Museum, Rungstedlund
Concepts of the future among freedom, consumption, tradition and moral
In Europe, Asia, Latin America, as well as in Africa the middle class or the bourgeoisie played a key role in shaping the future of societies throughout social upheavals. The middle class brought future concepts forward, which informed major societal debates.
The crucial question which lies at the heart of the sub project (SP) related to the role of the middle class is: To what extent is the formulation of various concepts of the future tied back to a heterogeneous socio-cultural contexts of the African middle class?
Put more generally: In which social environment do future concepts arise and on which aspects do they have impact? The ethno-sociological sub project shall highlight the combination of various future concepts of middle classes, which can be a breeding ground for the development of future designs as well as in their practice result from the ideas associated with it. Kenya is a particularly suitable field for the study. Already in the 1950s a notable middle class was formed, which has grown in importance and size since then. The ethnological sub project works on the micro level and captures the consumption and leisure attitude of the new middle class. It focuses on the intergenerational negotiation process within selected families with a view to future concepts. The sociological sub project consists primarily of the meso level. It examines current future concepts and their reception as well as the interdependence of future concepts and patterns of living.
The sub project focuses on social representations of future concepts and their contexts. The project will focus on current concepts of the future, their protagonists and addressees in the middle classes, the social environment, their genesis and their entanglement with current processes of social change. The core question of the project is: To what extent are various concepts of the future and a societal response to them tied back to heterogeneous socio-cultural contexts in which African middle classes act? More generally speaking: In which social environment do future concepts arise and in where do they unfold their impacts?
The middle class in Africa is on the one hand characterised by authors from development politics and by economist characterized according to their economic potential (Mubila et al 2011; McKinsey 2010; Shikwati 2007). On the other hand, in the debate on civil society the middle class is thought as genuine representative of a liberal-democratic model of society. Both of these views ignore socio-cultural differences within the middle class, which are expressed in very different plans for the future. Currently, there are at least the following types of future concepts to be found:
(A) Liberal-democratic ideas,
(B) The development discourse of development organizations,
(C) Pragmatic individual orientations towards career and consumption,
(D) Neo-traditionalist ideas with recourse to pre-colonial structures of authority, strong ethnic and family ties and indigenous land rights,
(E) Ideas which are heavily influenced by religious norms and which carry aspects of millenarian concepts of time and moral principles (including Pentecostal churches, Islamic movements i.a.),
(F) Notions of an upward mobility and security which are family-related and intergenerational.
Future concepts differ by manifold individual, familial and social aspects – i.e. social position being just one of them. Moreover they differ in terms of their range (concrete life plans such as professional career, political programs, ideas of afterlife), the possibility of shaping the future respectively ideas of predetermination of the future. Besides, future concepts differ as well in relation to the question in how far the conception of the future may serve as a model for the society as such or if it may merely be a matter of individual preference.
With the research, the interlinkage of various visions of the future and their specific social contexts shall be highlighted. Social contexts are here understood as social differentiations among the middle classes and can both be a breeding ground for the development of future concepts as well as a projection, and thus the consequence, of ideas on the future. The most common analysis of such processes of differentiation combines the investigation of socio-economic differences besides socio-cultural aspects which are represented in the lifestyles, respectively, milieus or patterns of conduct (e.g., Bourdieu 1979; Hartmann 1999; Hradil 1987). The application of such approaches on the African context requires further substantial conceptual developments. Firstly, patterns of life style vary. Secondly, indicators of socio-cultural differentiation which mainly apply in Europe, such as patterns of consumption and leisure, cannot simply be transferred to the African context. Thirdly, characteristics of socio-cultural differences (and thus the formulation of plans for the future and their reception) are significantly influenced by the experience of global networks (transnational education with stays abroad, the influence of diaspora groups, migrant labour). Consideration of these factors is an important contribution to the problem of generalizing and revising sociological theories as well as social anthropological concepts of social differentiation. These considerations can contribute to theory production in anthropology and to the improvement of systematic conceptions in sociology. By examining the role of transnational relations in the production of future concepts, the subproject offers new empirical material to mainly subject theoretically claimed globality and discarding of ideas for the future (Adam 2004, 16).
Some of the publications on the project include:
Dieter Neubert 2015: Die Fallen der „Rumsfeld Utopie“. Das widersprüchliche Verhältnis zwischen Mittelschichten, Zivilgesellschaft und Demokratie. . Festschrift für Reinhart Kößler. In: Hauck, Gerhard; Lenz, Ilse, Wehr, Ingrid; Wienold, Hanns (Hg.): Entwicklung, Gewalt, Gedächtnis. Münster: Westfälisches Dampfboot 2015, 128-141.
Antje Daniel & Dieter Neubert 2014: Middle classes and political instability in Kenya. Civil society organizations during the post-election violence of 2007/2008. In: Dominique Darbon (eds.), Les classes moyennes en Afrique. Enjeux politiques d’une catégorie incertaine. Paris: Éditions Karthala, 155-184.
Dieter Neubert 2014: What is “Middle Class”? In Search of an Appropriate Concept. In: META, Middle East – Topics and Arguments, Heft 2 , S . 23-35.
James Muriuki is a Nairobi based art practitioner who has primarily used photography and lens-based media in his work. His practice constantly revolves around the transition of society through specific objects that are often the extension of personal and communal bearings. His works explore the confluence of inter-dependent happenings in an ever-changing social landscape. He uses forms such as architecture and constructions as visual elements and metaphorical symbols that are an illustration of human capacity, desire and aspirations.
He is also interested in experimenting with and investigating the potential of images, specifically photography and motion, video, sound as mediums and processes of making art and ultimately as a knowledge reservoirs and transmission channels.
James’ work has been exhibited and collected in many countries and included in several publications. He has collaborated with artists, attended residencies and workshops in several countries as well as being a grants recipient. He has curated several exhibitions individually and collaboratively in Nairobi and abroad.
Founded in October 2012 and inaugurated in a festive event on December 3rd, 2012, the “Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies” will expand the horizon of the well-established field of African Studies at this University at international, national and local levels. Across a broad range of disciplines, it will open dialogues with other Area Studies as well as with fields of research dedicated to ‘systematic’ (i.e. non-regional) approaches. Thus, in its first phase (2012-2016), the Bayreuth Academy will fathom concepts of the future emerging from Africa and its diasporas from different academic perspectives. An essential concern is to engage in general debates about the concept of ‘future’ through insights gained from regional research, notably African Studies. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding this project and the setting up of its institutional structures during the next four years.