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International affairs and multimedia production

The actors

> Scientific director : Professor of Political Science at Science Po Bordeaux, President of the scientific advisory board within the African section of the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.
> Coordinator : PhD in Anthropology.
> Field : PhD in Policital Sciences.
> Visual artist : Benedicte Kurzen/NOOR.
> Journalist : Geneviève Martin-Williams.



An in-depth study to understand African middle class dietary habits, as well as underlying portrayals and logic, with an aim to adjust the marketing and communication strategies of a large food company on the African continent.

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The context

The project is based on work that Collateral Creations has already carried out on African middle classes, and concentrates on understanding dietary habits in Sub-Saharan Africa. A unique approach combining sociology, photography and journalism. The most complete study ever produced of this group of 220 million individuals.

The fourth field of an in-depth study of African middle class dietary habits.

In this study, we focused on the intergenerational dynamics of the recently installed middle class in Lagos through the analysis of their eating habits, perception of well-being and social affirmation.

The highlighting of the team of experts helped the photographer to produce a creative work which interrogate the connection between social life and dietary practices in Nigeria.

According to the African Development Bank, the middle class represents 22,0% of the population of the country (34.5 million people).

Our study focuses on the upper part of the floating middle class and the lower middle class, i.e. a total of 12.6% of the population (19 million people). This two groups share many similarities : they are both emergent groups that still have to struggle to avoid falling back into poverty ; they seem to have the same objectives and preoccupations concerning their children’s education and have quite similar eating habits.

Socio-anthropological analysis

The main objective of the study is to investigate, on the one hand, how rising middle class groups develop new dietary practices and perceptions about food products, and on the other hand, to analyze who has the authority to make purchasing decisions and what practices and perceptions are being passed from one generation to another.

To this end, we focused on six questions :

  • Does the frantic pace of Lagos life style affect the dietary practices of the middle class?
  • Is there a gap between self-identity perception and how they project it?
  • What are the strategies and coping mechanisms used and what are the signs of social mobility?
  • Have the educational strategies and learning processes changed between generations?
  • What are the main sources of influence?
  • Which visible changes affect the relationship between parents and children?


We have done :

  • Twenty semi-structured interviews with the recently installed middle class
  • The ludic interaction with nineteen children
  • Two focus groups (one with five women from the recently installed middle class and another with five people from the floating middle class)
  • Participant observation was conducted in open-air markets, supermarkets, fast food restaurants, open-air night restaurants, local restaurants and places of worship (churches)
  • Visit of three schools and twenty-one places of purchase (markets, hypermarkets, supermarkets and small local groceries shops)

The photography project

« “Fast Food NAIJA” is a photography project which aims to underline the syncretism operating in the Bukkas, traditional fast food restaurants, and a more formal industry that is booming, represented by local and international brands. These locations provided me with an extremely rich visual playground. Along with a traditional documentary approach, there is a color patchwork made of portraits and landscapes, determined by the colour code of each brand. These are all elements of a theatre play, offering up an incredible slice of Nigerian life. »
Benedicte Kurzen

Journalist accounts

Alongside the analytical and visual creation work, a journalist wrote two articles about the key – and most representative – moments of middle class daily life relating to dietary habits. This was highlighted by the work of the expert and the visual artist.

They are published and available here :

Tunde Ogunrinde : Mr Fast Food

Suya, the basis of good grilled meat

Bénédicte Kurzen spent two weeks in Lagos wandering between fast food outlets and junk food street stalls, approaching clients and employees alike. She produced a documentary photo body of work of a creative kind, mixing portraiture and scenes of daily life, organized in as many chapters as she found dominant colors...

  • A limited book edition has been published. "Alimentary particles" contains a selection of authored photographs as well as journalist accounts and a text to introduce the artistic approach of the photographer. An extract of the book can be read here.