Producing the People

in The Pan-African Nation

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2005 | ISBN: 9780226023540
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226023564 | DOI:
Producing the People

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This chapter focuses on the making of Nigerian national culture within the broader black and African world, because it brings into bold relief the very logic of spectacle as a form of cultural commodification. It approaches this important notion as a basic inversion of simulacrum and original—a kind of commodity fetish writ large—whereby an exhibited “people” became more real and authentic than the lands and peoples themselves. That this transformation was in fact quite fundamental to the political ontology of the colonial exhibition is well demonstrated by several studies of British and French imperial culture. But in the postcolonial context of an oil-rich Nigeria, the consequences were very different. The transformation of the public sphere that Nigeria sought to achieve in FESTAC developed into a simulated arena of national participation which was underwritten by oil, projected from “above,” and ultimately detached from its popular base.

Keywords: Nigerian culture; cultural commodification; political ontology; imperial culture; national participation; FESTAC

Chapter.  14136 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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