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Youth culture and the struggle for social space: the Nigerian video film

  • Author / Creator
    Ugor, Paul
  • Abstract This dissertation reflects on how young people in Nigeria have appropriated global media technology in forging a local cinema industry, popularly known as Nollywood. First begun as a renegade cinematic art by jobless youth in the late 1980s, Nollywood has become the third biggest film industry in the world, next only to America’s Hollywood and India’s Bollywood, grossing approximately $50 million US dollars annually (Okome 2007a; 2007b). The study thus examines how Nollywood has become a new social space for youth to retell their postcolonial struggles. It examines selected video films, showing how the films both represent the huge social challenges faced by young people in the city and the way youth reinvent those stormy socio-economic and political conditions into moments of possibilities and hope. Combining both an ethnographic study of the video culture in Nigeria and a textual reading of several video films, the research draws insights from a cross-section of video filmmakers, workers in the arts and culture sectors, and a random survey of the diversity of viewers that make up the video audiences in Nigeria. Theoretically, it extends on the pioneering work on the video film by Haynes and Okome (1997; 2000). Using the theoretical framework of the new sociology of youth (Alan 2007; Bennett and Khan-Harris 2004; Wyn and White 1997; UN 1993; 2005 and Fornas & Goran Bolin 1995) and the anthropological/cultural studies approach by Barber (1997), the project discusses the distinctively creative deployment of the video medium as a narrative genre that narrativizes the different and difficult life struggles of youth in contemporary Nigeria. I argue that as a new form of cultural expression, Nollywood is Africa’s new "Third Cinema" invented by innovative Nigerian youth in remapping the turbulent contours of a troubled postcolony. I demonstrate how creative classes of marginal Nigerian youth have now taken initiative, appropriating and adapting new media technology in reinventing not just their social and economic lives, but also in narrating their social struggles in everyday life for both local and international audiences. The outcome, the study shows, is the emergence of a new social space for youth.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2009-11
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R37D2X
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Doctoral
  • Department
    • Department of English and Film Studies
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Okome, Onookome (English and Film Studies)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Barbour, Charles (Sociology)
    • Ouzgane, Lahoucine (English and Film Studies)
    • White, Jerry (English and Film Studies)
    • Breitinger, Eckhard (Institute of African Studies, University of Bayreuth, Germany)