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Made in Nigeria

Duress and Upwardly Mobile Youth in the Biography of a Young Entrepreneur in Enugu

Inge Ligtvoet

What does duress mean in the lives of those who are not by definition understood to be living in duress—namely, upwardly mobile young people in a relatively peaceful city in southeast Nigeria? In this article, I try to answer that question by presenting the life story of Azu, a young designer in Enugu who has made his way out of a poverty-stricken background through a relatively successful entrepreneurship. His biography, based on interviews and observations, and partially through a shared experience of constraint in Nigeria, serves as an example of duress in the lives of those who—by family, educational background, or career success—are considered “well-off” compared with most youths in the country. I argue that duress for these youths is informed by social expectations due to their acquired status as much as by the sociopolitical uncertainties that they have been confronted with throughout their lives.

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Mofeyisara Oluwatoyin Omobowale, Offiong Esop Akpabio and Olukemi Kehinde Amodu

Masculinity, as an identity signifier along gender lines, varies from one society to another. The nature, definition, and expression of masculinity (dominance, oppression, violence, and aggression) through social interactions may breed bullying, as found in the Agbowo community of Ibadan, Nigeria. The data for the study were collected through mixed methods and revealed that patriarchal constructed masculinity allows for hegemonic dominance, aggression, oppression, and violent acts that foster bullying among adolescent males in Agbowo. Hence, to address bullying-related problems among adolescents, an understanding of the societal context in which it is carried out is required.

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Medical Ethnography over Time

Penetrating “the fog of health” in a Nigerian community, 1970–2017

Murray Last

Too often, research into the health of a particular community is brief and superficial, focusing only on what is public and leaving the private health of women and children ‘foggy’. By contrast, long-term anthropology can offer access to processes taking place within a local culture of illness. Here, an account of a community’s experience of health over the past 50 years not only outlines the key changes as seen anthropologically but also shows how even close ethnography can initially miss important data. Furthermore, the impact of a researcher – both as a guest and as a source of interference – underlines how complex fieldwork can be in reality, especially if seen through the eyes of the researcher’s hosts.

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Portrait

J. D. Y. Peel

Marloes Janson, Wale Adebanwi, David Pratten, Ruth Marshall, Stephan Palmié, Amanda Villepastour, J. D. Y. Peel, Richard Fardon and Ramon Sarró

In Nigeria, a country associated with conflict and violence, a common phrase in Pidgin English used to characterize the nation is “Nigeria is a war.” However, as J. D. Y. Peel has pointed out in his extensive work, Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria are not marked just by conflict and violence. Christians and Muslims have long lived side by side in Yorubaland in southwestern Nigeria, often in harmony with practitioners of Yoruba religion—the boundaries between the three not always sharply demarcated (Peel 2000). In line with J. D. Y.’s optimistic nature, his work has a positive message: the Yoruba teach us about how different faiths can co-exist in peace.

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Alessandro Jedlowski

This article analyzes the articulation between mobility and technology within life trajectories marked by migration, exile, and the search for economic achievement. It does so by focusing on a Nigerian couple’s (attempted) itinerary of return migration from Italy to Nigeria, and on the tensions that surround the role played by a specific transport technology, the shipping container, within this process. It highlights how, throughout the itinerary that brings the container from Italy to Nigeria, its social meaning and that of the cargo stored in it become the center of a series of tense interactions, in which diverging imaginaries about transnational mobility, migration, and life abroad come to the fore, and provoke radical transformations in the life of the people involved in the itinerary of the container itself.

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Rachel J. Wilde, Gayle Clifford, Áron Bakos and Kristine Hickle

Learning Under Neoliberalism: Ethnographies of Governance in Higher Education Susan Brin Hyatt , Boone W. Shear and Susan Wright (eds), New York: Berghahn Books (Higher Education in Critical Perspective: Practices and Policies Series), 2015, ISBN: 978-1-78238-595-0, 226pp., Hb. £80.00, Pb. £20.00.

The Unseen Things: Women, Secrecy and HIV in Northern Nigeria Kathryn A. Rhine, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 2016, ISBN: 978-0-253-02143-4, 218pp., Pb. $30.00.

eFieldnotes: The Makings of Anthropology in the Digital World Roger Sanjek and Susan W. Tratner (eds), Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press (Haney Foundation Series), 2016, ISBN: 978-0-8122-4778- 7, 312pp., Pb. £29.99.

Trafficked Children and Youth in the United States: Reimagining Survivors Elżbieta M. Goździak, New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2016, ISBN: 9780813569697, 194pp., Pb. £25.95, $27.95, Hb. £78.50, $85.00.

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Introduction

Anthropological Knowledge and Practice in Global Health

Rodney Reynolds and Isabelle L. Lange

Since the turn of the millennium, conceptual and practice-oriented shifts in global health have increasingly given emphasis to health indicator production over research and interventions that emerge out of local social practices, environments and concerns. In this special issue of Anthropology in Action, we ask whether such globalised contexts allow for, recognise and sufficiently value the research contributions of our discipline. We question how global health research, ostensibly inter- or multi-disciplinary, generates knowledge. We query ‘not-knowing’ practices that inform and shape global health evidence as influenced by funders’ and collaborators’ expectations. The articles published here provide analyses of historical and ethnographic field experiences that show how sidelining anthropological contributions results in poorer research outcomes for the public. Citing experiences in Latin America, Angola, Senegal, Nigeria and the domain of global health evaluation, the authors consider anthropology’s roles in global health.

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Blood oil

The anatomy of a petro-insurgency in the Niger delta

Michael Watts

This article traces the emergence of an “oil insurgency” in the Niger Delta, Nigeria. A key concept deployed in the analysis is the oil complex, understood as a sort of corporate enclave economy and also a center of political and economic calculation expressed through the operations of a set of local, national, and transnational forces that can only be dubbed as imperial oil. The operations of the oil complex under conditions of U.S. military neoliberalism create the violent and unstable spaces that David Harvey identifies as “accumulation by dispossession”. The insurgency is understood in terms of a deep history of political and economic marginalization and deepening political mobilization and militancy within the Niger Delta. What the oil complex has thereby produced is a fragmented polity with parcellized sovereignty rather than a robust, modern oil nation.

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Keeping the Goddess Alive

Performing Culture and Remembering the Past in Osogbo, Nigeria

Peter Probst

This article focuses on the debate about cultural heritage in the context of art, history, and politics in the Yoruba town of Osogbo in southwest Nigeria. Some forty years ago, Osogbo became the center of a vibrant art scene. Today Osogbo’s fame as a symbol for the renaissance of Yoruba art and culture has faded. What has survived, however, is the debate about the shrines and sculptures shaped by the Austrian-born artist, Susanne Wenger, and her local collaborators in the grove of Osogbo’s guardian deity Osun. It is argued that the present day conflicts about the meaning of the image works standing in the Osun grove are based upon their perception not so much as art but rather as media which in the very sense of the word—mediate between different realms of social importance in terms of time, space, power, and wealth.

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Tracking Skilled Diasporas

Globalization, Brain Drain, and the Postcolonial Condition in Nigeria

Nduka Otiono

This essay examines the trajectories of skilled labor migrants within a global South-North migration matrix using an interdisciplinary framework. Focusing on Nigeria's huge brain drain phenomenon, the essay draws from the limited available data on the field, interpreting those data through theoretical perspectives from postcolonial studies, Marxism, cultural studies, and human geography. The study spotlights the example of the United States of America as a receptacle of skilled migrants and raises questions of social justice along the North-South divide. The research demonstrates that contrary to the dominant image promoted by some elements in the Western media of migrants as irritants or criminals who disturb well-cultivated, advanced World economies and social spaces, 1 those nations benefit highly from Africa's (and other migrant countries') labor diasporas, especially the highly skilled professionals.