Subprojects | Project Area A | Knowledge of Space

Biographies of the Middle Classes: Spatial Experience and Meaning in the Life Course Narrative

This research project investigates spatial constitutions of members of the middle classes from a biographical perspective in Kenya and Germany. It explicitly focuses on translocal spatial references of the family sphere on the one hand and the working environment on the other. Based on narrative-biographical interviews, relevant biographical spaces are reconstructed and analysed with regard to their similarities and differences. Due to the explorative character of the project, different comparison categories (e.g. rural/urban, gender, age or religiosity) will be equally tested and their explanatory value challenged. Comparing German and Kenyan middle classes will only be one of many comparisons. We expect this category to be of explanatory value because middle classes in Kenya mainly emerged in the last decades under the conditions of a globalized world economy without the framing of a welfare state, whereas the emergence of German middle classes at the end of the 19th century was a process deeply interwoven with the establishment of the German welfare state. The aim is to develop an empirically founded conceptualization of typical biographical strategies in coping with the tension between the sphere of reproduction and the world of work from a spatial perspective.


Frank, S., Steets, S., Schwenk, J., & Weidenhaus, G. (2013). Der aktuelle Perspektivenstreit in der Stadtsoziologie. Leviathan. Berliner Zeitschrift für Sozialwissenschaft, 41(2), p. 197-223.

Hoerning, J., & Weidenhaus, G. (2018). Simmel als Ahnherr der Stadtsoziologie und der Urban Studies. In Müller, H.-P. , & Reitz, T. (eds.), Simmel-Handbuch. Begriffe, Hauptwerke, Aktualität (p. 800-814). Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Löw, M. & Weidenhaus, G. (2017). Borders that relate: Conceptualizing boundaries in relational space. Current Sociology, 65(4), p. 553-557.

Löw, M., & Weidenhaus, G. (2018). Relationale Räume mit Grenzen. Grundbegriffe der Analyse alltagsweltlicher Raumphänomene. In Brenneis, A., Honer, O., Keesser, S., Ripper, A., & Vetter-Schultheiß, S. (eds.), Technik–Macht–Raum. Das Topologische Manifest im Kontext interdisziplinärer Studien (p. 207-227). Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

Mock, C., & Fegter, S. (2019). Children´s Emotional Geographies of Well-being. The Cultural Constitution of Belonging(s) in the Context of Migration and Digital Technologies. In Fattore, T., Fegter, S., & Hunner-Kreisel, C. (eds.), Qualitative Research on Children’s Well-being Across National and Cultural Contexts. International Journal of Emotional Education, Special Issue 11 (p. 13-30).

Weidenhaus, G. (2015). Soziale Raumzeit. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp.

Weidenhaus, G. (2017). Der Zusammenhang von Raum und Zeit. Zur Konzeption sozialer Raumzeit und ihrer empirischen Relevanz in Biografien. In Henckel, A., Laux, H. & Anicker, F. (eds.), Zeitschrift für theoretische Soziologie. 4. Sonderband. Raum und Zeit. Soziologische Beobachtungen zur gesellschaftlichen Raumzeit (p. 40-73). Weinheim: Beltz Juventa.

Weidenhaus, G. (2018). In der Welt sein. In Ritter, S. & Schöneck, N. M. (eds.), Die Mitte als Kampfzone: Wertorientierungen und Abgrenzungspraktiken der Mittelschichten (p. 295-310). Bielefeld: transcript.

Weidenhaus, G. & Korte, E. (2021). Global Middle Class? Spurensuche in Nairobi und Berlin. In Löw, M., Sayman, V., Schwerer, J., & Wolf, H. (eds.), Am Ende der Globalisierung. Über die Refiguration von Räumen (p. 283-306). Bielefeld: transcript.

Weidenhaus, G. & Norkus, M. (2021). Biografisch-narrative Interviews. In Heinrich, A. J., Marguin, S., Million, A., & Stollmann, J. (eds.), Handbuch qualitative und visuelle Methoden der Raumforschung (p. 153-164). Bielefeld: transcript.

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