Accepted paper:

Middle class Dissensus: The political aesthetics of private housing strategies in (not so) neoliberal Mozambique

Authors:

Jason Sumich (University of Essex)
Morten Nielsen (National Museum of Denmark)

Paper short abstract:

Based on recent ethnographic data from Maputo, Mozambique, this article explores the articulations of new forms of middle class housing strategies on the ‘inside’ of a post-socialist political cosmology.

Paper long abstract:

Based on recent ethnographic data from Maputo, Mozambique, this article explores the articulations of new forms of middle class housing strategies on the 'inside' of a post-socialist political cosmology. Focusing on private housing strategies in Maputo, we identify two modalities of middle classness that are being articulated within a socio-political system that is still infused by the aesthetics of socialism despite its collapse in the mid-1980s. Fearing the effects of downward mobility, members of the upper middle class who are close to the governing Frelimo party seeks to visibly embody a political ideology that they no longer believe in. By contrast, through national housing policies, members of the lower middle class attempt to create functioning enclaves where they can experiment with forms of privatization that are otherwise privileged the wealthy elite. Through an exploration of the material and symbolic role of housing in systems of stratification, we outline the contours of a new analytical approach to middle classness in Mozambique and discuss how this could relate to the global south more generally.

panel P112
Engineering the Middle Classes: State Institutions, Wealth, and Aspirations of Citizenship