|University of Oslo
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Abstract This thesis is based on a five month long anthropological fieldwork in Nairobi, Kenya. The target group of the study is the urban middle class in Nairobi. In the search of understanding/grasping what middle class life is all about, one phrase was frequently cited as a clear definition and desire of middle class life. This phrase was the good life and this gradually became the core element in my fieldwork and also in this thesis. Who belongs to the middle class and who does not, is not something clear nor static, but rather dynamic. The membership of urban middle class can be negotiated and the key is participation in the good life. What is considered as the good life differs, but it is always manifested and performed through spending (or consuming) money. Due to historical processes, places within the city are not neutral, rather loaded with meaning and social status. The place of consumption is therefore of high relevance. Through empirical evidence I will show how the urban middle class strategically uses consumption and places within the city in order to manifest and perform the good life.