Social Milieus in the Middle-Class of Nairobi Lifestyles, Attitudes and Future Visions Beyond Homogenity

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:00 PM
Room: 419
Oral Presentation
Florian STOLL , Development Sociology, University of Bayreuth, Germany, 95444 Bayreuth, Germany
One of the key questions in the debate on (political) orientations of middle-classes is how these groups develop their attitudes. To answer this it helps to consider political positions in their heterogenous sociocultural contexts among the different groups of the middle classes. As an example I will take a look at some social milieus, their lifestyles and their future visions in the middle-class of Nairobi – with a look at milieus in Mombasa as a contrast.

The reconstruction of milieus in the specific context of Kenya´s capital aims to demonstrate how a variety of factors influences the lifestyles of Nairobians and that there are heterogenous groups with different lifestyles in the middle income strata.

Future visions are an excellent indicator for lifestyles and corresponding orientations of milieus to see how they integrate these visions into their daily practices. E g in Nairobi developed over the last decade a milieu of Young Urban Professionals between 20 and 35 years who have a consume oriented lifestyle and who are bound to the city. They are usually not driven by religious or traditional values. Their orientations and future visions differ a lot from groups who are strongly led by religious affilitations, (neo-)tribal values or by connections to the country side.

So this paper will provide a sketch of exemplary milieus, their life styles, their living conditions and their future visions. Another relevant question might be how different milieus look for solutions or demand different actions concerning the threat of islamist terror group Al Shabaab whose last attack shook Nairobi in September 2013. All aspects mentioned will contribute to draw a complex picture of the different social milieus in the Nairobi middle class and their divergent lifestyles.