Nation as Grand Narrative

Nation as Grand Narrative

The Nigerian Press and the Politics of Meaning

Wale Adebanwi


University of Rochester Press



A methodical analysis of relations of domination and subordination through media narratives of nationhood in an African context.
Nation as Grand Narrative offers a methodical analysis of how relations of domination and subordination are conveyed through media narratives of nationhood. Using the typical postcolonial state of Nigeria as a template and engaging with disciplines ranging from media studies, political science, and social theory to historical sociology and hermeneutics, Wale Adebanwi examines how the nation as grand narrative provides a critical interpretive lens through which competition among ethnic, ethnoregional, and ethnoreligious groups can be analyzed. Adebanwi illustrates how meaning is connected to power through ideology in the struggles enacted on the pages of the print media over diverse issues including federalism, democracy and democratization, religion, majority-minority ethnic relations, space and territoriality, self-determination, and threat of secession. Nation as Grand Narrative will trigger further critical reflections on the articulation of relations of domination in the context of postcolonial grand narratives.

Wale Adebanwi is associate professor of African American and African studies, University of California-Davis, and a visiting professor at the Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER), Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.


May 2016
3 black and white illustrations
406 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora
ISBN: 9781580465557
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC HIS001050, POL045000, SOC052000
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Nation as Grand Narrataive
Interpretive Theory, Narrative, and the Politics of Meaning
In Search of a Grand Narrative: The Press and the Ethno-Regional Struggle for Political Independence
Hegemony and Ethno-Spatial Politics: "Nationalizing" the Capital City in the Late-Colonial Era
Paper Soldiers: Narratives of Nationhood and Federalism in Pre-Civil War Nigeria
Representing the Nation: Electoral Crisis and the Collapse of the Third Republic
The "Fought" Republic: The Press, Ethno-Religious Conflicts, and Democratic Ethos
Narratives, Territoriality, and Majority-Minority Ethnic Violence
Narratives, Oil, and the Spatial Politics of Marginal Identities
Conclusion: Beyond Grand Narratives


This is a thought-provoking book which takes a novel approach to some of the most fundamental questions facing contemporary Africa. It deserves a wide readership. AFRICAN JOURNALISM STUDIES

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