Jason Sumich proposes to analyze the middle class in Mozambique, contextualized within the political changes of the state, within the broader context of Southern Africa. The book is organized chronologically in 7 chapters. The author starts by describing the Portuguese imperial project and late colonialism, followed by an analysis of Frelimo's social transformative project and its limits. He then discusses how the erosion of the social transformation project initiated in the post-independence transformed the basis of privilege. Followed by a discussion of the factors that led to the increasing cleavage between the middle class and the ruling elite. He rounds up his analysis by shedding light in an increased polarisation. His analyses, based on a long-term ethnography, are a departure from previous afro-pessimist views on African elites that also offers a critical reading of the Africa Rising narrative of the middle class. The book's analytical weakness comes from its narrow sample and post-independence dynamics, despite acknowledging colonial class legacy. This limits the analytical reach of the book and the elements he explores - class dynamics, power structures, the configuration of Maputo, gender and race relations, and the position of foreigners in the society - often lack nuance.
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