Synopses & Reviews
In this important and timely collection of essays, historians reflect on the middle class: what it is, why its struggles figure so prominently in discussions of the current economic crisis, and how it has shaped, and been shaped by, modernity. The contributors focus on specific middle-class formations around the worldandmdash;in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americasandmdash;since the mid-nineteenth century. They scrutinize these formations in relation to the practices of modernity, to professionalization, to revolutionary politics, and to the making of a public sphere. Taken together, their essays demonstrate that the historical formation of the middle class has been constituted transnationally through changing, unequal relationships and shifting racial and gender hierarchies, colonial practices, and religious divisions. That history raises questions about taking the robustness of the middle class as the measure of a society's stability and democratic promise. Those questions are among the many stimulated by The Making of the Middle Class
, which invites critical conversation about capitalism, imperialism, postcolonialism, modernity, and our neoliberal present.
Contributors. Susanne Eineigel, Michael A.Ervin, Iandntilde;igo Garcandiacute;a-Bryce, Enrique Garguin, Simon Gunn, Carol E. Harrison, Franca Iacovetta, Sanjay Joshi, Prashant Kidambi, A. Ricardo Landoacute;pez, Gisela Mettele, Marina Moskowitz, Robyn Muncy, Brian Owensby, David S. Parker, Mrinalini Sinha, Mary Kay Vaughan, Daniel J. Walkowitz, Keith David Watenpaugh, Barbara Weinstein, Michael O. West
andquot;Both materially grounded and sensitive to notions of subjectivity and discourse, this timely and provocative volume challenges us to historicize the multiple, transnational formations and meanings of the middle class. Modernity itself is thus recast as a set of entangled, locally rooted processes that did not begin in 'the West' and travel elsewhere, but were mutually constituted and reconstituted in a global and colonial context.andquot;andmdash;Florencia E. Mallon, University of Wisconsin, Madison
andquot;The Making of the Middle Class is a first-rate collection of essays by top scholars writing on a topic of enormous interest: the middle class as an evolving conception and historical reality. The contributors focus on locales around the world. While the issues that they raise take locally specific forms, their essays converge around shared central questions, giving this stimulating collection a rare intellectual unity and focus.andquot;andmdash;Michael Frisch, University at Buffalo, SUNY
andldquo;The Making of the Middle Class brings together new work on a subjectandmdash;the history of the middle classandmdash;that has previously seen only fragmented historical discussion.Yet, the volume does more than simply bring the middle classes back into the fold of global history. Rather, by taking a transnational lens, it has spurred an ambitious project to connect the history of the middle classes to broader discussions onglobal cultural identities, the history of globalization, practices of modernity, imperialism, and neoliberalism.andrdquo;
andldquo;The book is a welcome addition to a historiography that, at least for Latin America, has focused too much on elites and/or subalterns...This book, however, is important in that it allows us to take a fresh look at what the ambivalent and andlsquo;fuzzyandrsquo; realities of middle class(es) might mean for the modern age.andrdquo;
[T]he volume undoubtedly represents a step forward in the development of a field of middle-class studies. The insights of the introduction, the intelligence of the commentaries and afterword, and the variety of methods at play and of issues dealt with in each individual article will surely make of this book a fundamental read for scholars to come.andrdquo;
“[A] carefully crafted anthology…The panorama of the book's examples dazzles the reader's mind.” Ezequiel Adamovsky - Social History
andldquo;[A] carefully crafted anthologyandhellip;The panorama of the bookand#39;s examples dazzles the readerand#39;s mind.andrdquo;
A compilation of essays analyzing the middle class since the mid-nineteenth century in a variety of geographic locations, including South Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.
The contributors question the current academic understanding of what is known as the global middle class. They see middle-class formation as transnational and they examine this group through the lenses of economics, gender, race, and religion from the mid-nineteenth century to today.
In this edited collection the contributors question the current academic understanding of what is known as the global middle class. They see middle-class formation as transnational and they examine this group through the lenses of economics, gender, race, and religion from the mid-nineteenth century to today. They challenge the dominant Western definition of modernity and the middle class, and argue that in order to remove the Western and European focus in discussions of modernity people must look toward a reimagining of the entire category and history of the middle class to better shape the discussion of its future.
About the Author
A. Ricardo Landoacute;pez is Assistant Professor of History at Western Washington University.
Barbara Weinstein is the Silver Professor of History at New York University. She is the author of For Social Peace in Brazil: Industrialists and the Remaking of the Working Class in Sandatilde;o Paulo, 1920andndash;1964.
Table of Contents
Introduction: We Shall Be All: Toward a Transnational History of the Middle Class / A. Ricardo Land#243;pez with Barbara Weinstein 1
Part I: The Making of the Middle Class and Practices of Modernity 27
Thinking about Modernity from the Margins: The Making of a Middle Class in Colonial India / Sanjay Joshi 29
The African Middle Class in Zimbabwe: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives / Michael O. West 45
Between Modernity and Backwardness: The Case of the English Middle Class / Simon Gunn 58
andquot;Aren't We All?andquot;: Aspiration, Acquisition, and the American Middle Class / Marina Moskowitz 75
The Gatekeepers: Middle-Class Campaigns of Citizenship in Early Cold War Canada / Franca Iacovetta 87
Commentary on Part I / Barbara Weinstein 107
Part II: Labor Professionalization, Class Formation, and State Rule 119
The Conundrum of the Middle-Class Worker in the Twentieth-Century United States: The Professional Managerial Workers' (Folk) Dance around Class / Daniel J. Walkowitz 121
Becoming Middle Class: The Local History of a Global Storyand#8212;Colonial Bombay, 1890and#8211;1940 / Prashant Kidambi 141
Conscripts of Democracy: The Formation of a Professional Middle Class in Bogotand#225; During the 1950s and Early 1960s / A. Ricardo Land#243;pez 161
The Formation of the Revolutionary Middle Class during the Mexican Revolution / Michael A. Ervin 196
Commentary on Part II / Mary Kay Vaughan 223
Part III: Middle-Class Politics in Revolution 233
A Middle Class Revolution: The APRA Party and Middle-Class Identity in Peru, 1931and#8211;1956 / Iand#241;igo Garcand#237;a-Bryce 235
Revolutionary Promises Encounter Urban Realities for Mexico City's Middle Class, 1915and#8211;1928 / Susanne Eineigel 253
Being Middle Class and Being Arab: Sectarian Dilemmas and Middle-Class Modernity in the Arab Middle East, 1908and#8211;1936 / Keith David Watenpaugh 267
Commentary on Part III / Brian Owensby 288
Part IV: Middle-Class Politics and the Making of the Public Sphere 297
The City as a Field of Female Civic Action: Women and Middle-Class Formation in Nineteenth-Century Germany / Gisela Mettele 299
Putting Faith in the Middle Class: the Bourgeoisie, Catholicism, and Postrevolutionary France / Carol E. Harrison 315
Siand#250;ticos, Huachafos, Cursis, Arribistas, and Gente de Medio Pelo: Social Climbers and the Representation of Class in Chile and Peru, 1860and#8211;1930 / David S. Parker 335
andquot;Los Argentinos Descendemos de los Barcosandquot;: The Racial Articulation of Middle-Class Identity in Argentina, 1920and#8211;1960 / Enrique Garguin 355
Commentary on Part IV / Robyn Muncy 377
Afterword / Mrinalini Sinha 385