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.

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3 black and white illustrations
406 pages
9x6 in
Rochester Studies in African History and the Diaspora
Hardback, 9781580465557, May 2016
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


With its recuperation of the nation as an entity, and its insistence on the reality of identity politics both as a contested terrain and as the most meaningful narrative for Nigerian press history, this book represents a significant landmark in the new African print cultures scholarship. AFRICA

[A] brilliant combination of the analysis of political history and the mass media in pre- and post-colonial Nigeria. The book will be suitable as resource material for students, scholars and practitioners of political science, history, mass media and discourse analysis. JOURNAL OF MODERN AFRICAN STUDIES

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

The book represents a major contribution toward understanding the immensely complex role that newspapers have played in the political history of postcolonial Africa; it provides a unique and indispensable reflection on the very specific ways in which postcolonial societies have approached democracy. AFRICAN STUDIES REVIEW

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