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The gendering of Nigerian-ness in a Yorbouth scene

King, S; (2006) The gendering of Nigerian-ness in a Yorbouth scene. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Since the colonial period, the formal politics of the Nigerian state have been based on a masculinist military rule and prebendal structures. The government has relied on coercion, to stem popular reaction to its illegitimate status. This has been justified as a measure necessitated by an indisciplined civilian population. The rhetoric of indiscipline has reified the categories of 'youth' and 'women', which correspond to subordinated identity positions in both the Nigerian gerontocratic state ideology and those of wider global discourses. Accordingly, this thesis aims to analyse how gender is constituted in relationships situated in these macro-political and economic formations. The attainment of adulthood is socially defined, and young people use flexible subject positions that play off gender, age and financial status to become efficacious citizens - 'big boys' and 'big girls'. In youth discourse the epitome of efficacy is a "big boy' - a wealthy senior male. One of the ways young people come into direct contact with such men is by meeting their demand for commodified female sexual labour. Young women, protected by the ambiguity surrounding economic dating, turn 'bad money' into success: 'small girls' become 'big girls' in relation to 'small boys' who find themselves marginalised. Small boys invest in a masculinity based on the romanticisation of criminality. Male youth gangs, from University secret cult members to destitute 'area boys', valorise the lifestyles of gangsters and international fraudsters. This form of masculinity permeates a wider youth scene, regardless of sex, that claims the same ruthless ability to manipulate oppressive state and global authorities. Even in the most commodified context of selling sexual labour - prostitution - women draw on the same moral economy to operate as efficacious citizens. The state rhetoric of indiscipline thus becomes a resource of the marginalized. Yet in a state where the boundaries of legitimate and illegitimate are blurred indiscipline has become a broader national idiom for efficacy and I argue an important aspect of nation-ness in contemporary Nigeria.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: The gendering of Nigerian-ness in a Yorbouth scene
Identifier: PQ ETD:593052
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1445728
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