Kroeker Lena 8.2016

Lena Kroeker

Researcher at the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies and Alumni at BIGSAS

Contact Data

Email: lena.kroeker(at)
Phone: +49(0)921 55-5447
Fax: +49 (0) 921 55-41 18
Bureau: Hugo-Rüdel-Str. 10, Room 311


Middle Classes in Africa

Kroeker, L., O'Kane, D., Scharrer, T. (Eds.): (2018): Middle Classes in Africa: Changing Lives and Conceptual Challenges. Frontiers of Globalization, London: Palgrave Macmillan.


This volume challenges the concept of the ‘new African middle class’ and provides fresh theoretical and empirical insights into the changing lives in Sub-Saharan Africa. Diverse middle classes are on the rise throughout the continent, but models of such classes based on the experiences of other regions of the world cannot be easily transferred to Africa. 

Empirical contributions, drawn from a diverse range of contexts, address African histories of class formation, the political roles of the continent’s middle classes, and examine the important interdependencies that cut across intergenerational, urban-rural and class divides. This thought-provoking book argues emphatically for a revision of common notions of the 'middle class', and for the inclusion of insights 'from the South' into the global debate on class.


“This thoughtful, thorough volume shows the double condescension in the idea of a rising African middle class. For those concerned with Africa, it shows that the continent has long had a middle class. For those concerned with the middle class, it shows that the class is not the bastion of liberal economy and democracy of Western middle-class self-imagining. For both, this provocative collection will be important reading.”                                                        –James Carrier, University of Indiana, USA

“This collection of chapters seeks to widen the current debate on the African middle classes both theoretically and methodologically, as well as through empirical case studies, thereby adding to largely neglected aspects and dimensions to a vibrant but hitherto (as correctly observed) rather superficial debate.”                                                                                            –Henning Melber, Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden

Lena Kroeker is a Co-Editor of the Blog

This blog aims at establishing an interdisciplinary and transregional dialogue between researchers engaged in descriptions of the middle classes and pointing out how they dealt with the epistemological challenge of applying a concept devised in the global North to countries of the global South. This shall allow for a better understanding of how to establish research methods in global studies and address social processes whose analysis will be crucial for a better understanding of our globalized world.


In between Life and Death

Kroeker, Lena. (2015) In between Life and Death - Decision-making of HIV+ Mothers in Lesotho. Beiträge zur Afrikaforschung, Münster u.a.: LIT-Verlag.

Lena Kroeker's study was awarded with the Young Researcher's Prize for Excellence in Applied Development Research 2013 of the Verein für Socialpolitik with support of KfW Entwicklungsbank.


"The book gives both an overview and a deep insight into the topic of decision-making of HIV positive expectant mothers. Moreover, it shows the complex context which is full of power relations and social entanglements between mothers-to-be, the biomedical health system, their close relatives and society in general. (...) Lena Kroeker shows with her results how deep she dived into the reality of pregnant and HIV positive women in Mafeteng, and how public such a personal event like a pregnancy turns in times of HIV." (Margret Jäger, CURARE 38 (2015), S. 247)

Research Areas

Afrika (Kenya, Tanzania, Lesotho, South Africa, Mali), african Diaspora

Middle Classes in the Global South, Social Differentiation, Social Welfare, Medical Anthropology (HIV/AIDS, care, fertility), Gender and Generation, Future/Time/Temporality, Education, Uncertainty.

Research Project

Field Research



Presentations and Papers

Universität Bayreuth -