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Title:Politics & urban folklore in Nigeria
Author:Sekoni, RopoISNI
Book title:Readings in African Popular Culture
City of publisher:Bloomington, IN
Publisher:Indiana University Press
Geographic term:Nigeria
folk tales
Abstract:This study identifies, characterizes and interprets one of the many genres of urban folkloric forms in Nigeria, namely urban folktales of political character. Tales about people of the city are not new, what seems to be new is the sudden preference of folk commentators for concrete or realistic styles of behaviour over the abstract or symbolic ones that have characterized the folktale tradition for so long. In many urban tales circulating in Nigeria today, fantastic images are made to give way to realistic ones. This process, however, has been going on since the last quarter of the colonial period. In the nationalist days and shortly after independence, folk commentary on political behaviour was patterned after the satiric and heroic mode respectively. Folk examination of political culture in the 1980s assumes an anti-hegemonic character and is modelled after the trickster narrative mode, a cycle of stories of challenge, rebellion, and indictment. The movement from the subjective poetic mode to the objective mode of fictive construction of reality suggests an epistemological as well as aesthetic shift on the part of the folks. This shift may not be unconnected with the predominance of narrativity that has come to characterize the mass media. Bibliogr.