South Africa’s emerging black middle class: a harbinger of political change?

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While South Africa has seen a significant increase in the post-apartheid period in the size of the Black middle class, the attitudinal consequences of indicators of the middle class, as of 2011, are inconsistent and modest in size. While they are no more likely to hold democratic values than other Black South Africans, they are more likely to want the government to secure 'higher-order' rather than basic survival needs. They are less likely to identify with the governing African National Congress and to turn out to vote. They are also less likely to ‘voice’ their concerns by contacting officials or joining in conventional or unconventional forms of collective action. Yet while intra-racial class differences amongst Black people remain muted, intra-class racial differences amongst South Africa's middle class are still substantial.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-692
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of International Development
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2015


  • South Africa
  • survey research
  • attitudes
  • voting behaviour
  • political participation
  • middle class
  • democracy

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