Death and the King's Henchmen

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:
Death and the King's Henchmen

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This chapter examines how the plight of the Ogoni people came to represent the contradictions of oil capitalism in Nigeria at large. It shows how the pollution of natural ecosystems and environments provided the language for opposing historically specific forms of economic alienation and political dispossession throughout the nation as rentier capitalism and prebendal politics privatized the state and undermined the public sphere; and how the pattern of class involution eventually imploded. This leads to an understanding of how Ken Saro-Wiwa's demand for Ogoni autonomy escalated into a struggle for universal citizenship in Nigeria, and why, as the world waited to see what would happen, he was hanged.

Keywords: oil capitalism; Ogoni people; national ecosystems; autonomy; citizenship; economic alienation

Chapter.  8421 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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