Country Listing

Zaire Table of Contents



In the years since independence in 1960, Zaire has become an increasingly stratified and polarized society. One way of understanding how this process has occurred and what the social profile of the country has become is by distinguishing among the various classes that have evolved. Zaire specialist Michael G. Schatzberg's notion of class is a useful tool in conceptualizing these changes. He argues against a rigid conception of class that identifies any single individual as a member of an exclusive category such as the proletariat or the bourgeoisie. He argues instead that class identity is situationally based; an individual may be a member of one class in one interactional situation and a member of another in a different situation. Crawford Young and Thomas Turner, adopting this more fluid concept of class, and building on previous models of Zairian stratification elaborated by Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, Jean Rymenam, and others, have distinguished the following social classes.

Data as of December 1993