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"Social Structures and Inequality in Africa"

Laufzeit: März 2017 - Oktober 2018

Projektleiter: Dieter Neubert


Gefördert durch die Volkswagen-Stiftung im Rahmen der Förderinitiative OPUS MAGNUM


Book Project:

'Social Structures and Inequality in Africa'

The current discussion on African middle classes shows that neither
the empirical reality of African societies with all their
inequalities, nor conceptual developments in the social structure
debate in sociology are adequately taken into account.Up to date an
adequate approach to the analysis of inequality and social structures
in sub-Saharan Africa is missing. A first problem is that the existing
concepts were developed for the Global North, and that this fact has
not been properly considered before applying them to sub-Saharan
Africa. Secondly, international debates on the analysis of
socio-cultural differentiations are dominated by Anglophone authors,
and some very useful approaches developed in the German-speaking
countries have been ignored; in particular this applies to the
lifestyle and milieu approaches. Thirdly, approaches that have been
applied in Africa at different times and from different perspectives
are also ignored. Against this backdrop the first aim of the book is
to bring together concepts from social structure analysis in sociology
to form a multi-dimensional framework. The second aim is to integrate
into this general framework knowledge about inequality and social
structure in Africa from fields such as political sociology, poverty
studies, economics, social anthropology, gender studies, geography and
political science. Thirdly, because of the complexity of social
structures and patterns of inequality in Africa, an attempt will be
made to adapt and extend the existing sociological concepts, so that
the book will contribute to the development of a "global sociology".

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