Middle class construction: domestic architecture, aesthetics and anxieties in Tanzania

Mercer, C. (2014) ‘Middle class construction: domestic architecture, aesthetics and anxieties in Tanzania’, The Journal of Modern African Studies, 52 (02) pp. 227-250

This paper examines the new styles of houses under construction in contemporary Tanzania and suggests that they can be understood as the material manifestation of middle class growth. Through an examination of the architecture, interior décor and compound space in a sample of these new houses in urban Dar es Salaam and rural Kilimanjaro, the paper identifies four domestic aesthetics: the respectable house, the locally aspirant house, the globally aspirant house, and the minimalist house, each of which map on to ideas about ujamaa, liberalization and the consumption of global consumer goods in distinct ways. The paper argues that these different domestic aesthetics demonstrate intraclass differences, and in particular the emergence of a new middle class.

Available online at Cambridge Journals (sub required).


Publication Type Journal article
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Year 2014
Author(s) Claire Mercer
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022278X14000068
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