On Thursday 18th November, Professor Claire Mercer, Professor of Human Geography, spoke at a seminar organised by Essex University’s Centre for Research in Economic Sociology and Innovation.
The seminar, entitled ‘Landscapes of Class’, focused on Professor Mercer’s current research exploring the role of landscapes in mediating relations of social class. Focusing on Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, she analyses how the historical, geographical and social processes creating material and imagined landscapes reproduce middle classness.
Due to the near impossibility of policing house-building in the suburbs, a fragmented landscape emerges as low density, good quality residencies stand next door to smaller, densely arranged housing plots. Professor Mercer argues that the conflict between suburban landscapes of distinction and residents’ inability to protect them from infiltration by poorer urban populations captures a defining characteristic and central contradiction at the heart of contemporary middle classness in Dar es Salaam.