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The spatial dynamics of middle-class formation in postapartheid South Africa: enclavization and fragmentation in Johannesburg

Political Power and Social Theory

ISBN: 978-0-85724-325-6, eISBN: 978-0-85724-326-3

ISSN: 0198-8719

Publication date: 23 December 2010

Abstract

In this chapter we argue that South Africa's premier city, Johannesburg, has undergone a massive reconfiguration of its social geography since the demise of formal apartheid. Using census data and geographic information systems (GIS), we present evidence that this spatial transformation has been driven by a process of residential deracialization but one that has taken place within narrow class bands. Indeed, we show that change has been marked by a new process of middle-class formation that has specifically taken the form of what we call middle-class enclavization. We show moreover that this process of enclavization is marked by internal fragmentation with the increasing spatial compartmentalization of different fractions of the middle class. These findings in turn support broader arguments in the literature that emphasize the strategic practices, including the centrality of residential location, through which upper middle-class privilege is preserved.

Citation

Kracker Selzer, A. and Heller, P. (2010), "The spatial dynamics of middle-class formation in postapartheid South Africa: enclavization and fragmentation in Johannesburg", Go, J. (Ed.) Political Power and Social Theory (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 21), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 171-208. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0198-8719(2010)0000021012

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited