Popular Culture and Narratives of Youth Struggles in Nigeria

by Paul Ugor

Tags: African Studies, African World Series

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188 pp  $29.00

ISBN 978-1-61163-777-9
eISBN 978-1-5310-0589-4

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In June 2013, Nigeria's then–Minister of Youth Development, Alhaji Inuwa Abdul-Kadir, declared that, out of a total population of about 167 million, almost 50% were young people between the ages of 15 and 35. Thus, young people constitute almost 81 million of Nigeria's total population, out of which about 68 million are jobless. Given the popular argument that Nollywood is truly the people's art because the industry visually expresses the struggles of the ordinary masses, the author argues that a significant part of its popularity derives from Nollywood's ability to resonate with the mounting worries, dreams, and troubles of Africa's bulging youth population.

Nollywood addresses this theme of youth as a representative conceptual/social formation and its textualization in some early Nollywood video films. Following the emerging critical developments in new media studies that transcend textual reductionism, the author discusses the subject of youth in Nollywood films, both theoretically and empirically, using socio-economic analysis to supplement representational analysis. In order to adequately problematize the conjunction between social and economic power and the visual representation of youth-related themes in Nollywood videos, the author draws on both close reading and a political-economic approach, which allows for the historicization of visual representations. This kind of interdisciplinary method allows the author to apply concepts such as uncertainties, social struggles, risks, social aspiration, belonging, agency, and other such sociological concepts specific to youth studies in the analysis of Nollywood videos.

This book is part of the African World Series, edited by Toyin Falola, Jacob and Frances Sanger Mossiker Chair in the Humanities, University of Texas at Austin.

"It is an in-depth study of the peculiar contours of new politics of citizenship by youth, especially as represented in popular video films in Nigeria."—African Studies Quarterly, Volume 18, Issue 2