The Rise of an African Middle Class: Colonial Zimbabwe, 1898-1965

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Indiana University Press, Aug 19, 2002 - History - 344 pages
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Offers an extremely sophisticated, nuanced view of the social and political construction of an African middle class in colonial Zimbabwe." —Elizabeth Schmidt

Tracing their quest for social recognition from the time of Cecil Rhodes to Rhodesia’s unilateral declaration of independence, Michael O. West shows how some Africans were able to avail themselves of scarce educational and social opportunities in order to achieve some degree of upward mobility in a society that was hostile to their ambitions. Though relatively few in number and not rich by colonial standards, this comparatively better class of Africans challenged individual and social barriers imposed by colonialism to become the locus of protest against European domination. This extensive and original book opens new perspective into relations between colonizers and colonized in colonial Zimbabwe.

 

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Contents

The Social Construction of the African Middle Class
8
The Love Affair with Social Mobility
36
On Homemakers
68
Housing and Security of Tenure
99
The Political Construction of the African Middle Class
118
Toward an African Political Consensus
148
The Pursuit of Racial Partnership
177
In Search of the Political Kingdom
203
Conclusion
236
Bibliography
293
Index
309
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About the author (2002)

Michael O. West teaches in the Departments of Sociology and Africana Studies at Binghamton University. He is co-editor (with William G. Martin) of Out of One, Many Africas: Reconstructing the Study and Meaning of Africa. He has written widely on Zimbabwean and southern African history, and on the African diaspora.

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