#HaveyouHeard! Naija has a Hotel Culture.

Culture: the way of life of a group of people. At least so I was taught in Social studies class some donkey years ago. However, this term has over the years sprung up one too many semantics. Some have come to terms with an ideology that wherever people live, work and often share similar interest, culture develops in such a space.

A social researcher once told me, that culture is like a bacteria (good or bad) once it finds root in a safe space, it grows. That is why you would find culture in music as the example of pop culture, in arts, in business (as seen in their fashion and speech). you name it, wherever and whatever floods the interest of a group of people, Culture develops there.

A couple of months ago, I had a random yet informative conversation with my fellow culture critiques on culture and identity after some vodka shots. One of whom is from the Gambia and had visited Lagos, Nigeria recently for the first time out of nowhere said with so much excitement that:’Nigeria has what I call a hotel culture Tolu’. My other friend and I who were both Nigerians were taken aback for a second to digest and comprehend what he actually meant. He probably saw the confusion on our faces so he went further to say: Nigerians have a thing for using hotels for almost everything. the hotel is a broke man’s way to hide his sexual sins while owning a guest house is the rich man’s way to follow suite. It then dawned on us that Nigerian men and cougars alike have made it a ‘thing’ to use the hotel or what we called ‘hush houses’ to satisfy their secret desires and in other cases, for those really discreet meetings that can not and should not be held in public. It seems according to my Gambian friend that the hotel management have come to this understanding and have become experts at keeping mum over what happens with their clients. (i mean, what happens in room 117 stays there right?).

He further told us that that must be the reason why you find a hotel or a guest house (as they are often called) almost at every street you walk on. Though we are yet to fully accept his standpoint, it seems like a reality we never knew existed. So for those in Nigeria, and those planning to visit, say hello to the new culture called Hotel Hush!

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iBrand… Do You?

As we experience a paradigm shift from times when every young person’s dream was to become a 9-5iver to times when our jobs expect us to work round the clock. Times when the jobs our parents do/did for a living  seems to go extinct as we embrace  what social researchers have termed the era of the entrepreneurial self.  Thing is, whether we chose to accept it or not, social media and citizen journalism has opened us up to a world where every post made is regarded as authentic and a representation of who we are.

From the bloggers who chose to write about life, love and everything in between to the vloggers we chose to give 20mins of our time (i still do not understand the logic in posting about your everyday life on youtube for 100,000 viewers to enjoy watching without posting the ‘real’ e.g. your  toilet moments’ – but then, what do i know.

Back to the authentic self. You see, researchers like Anita harris are of the opinion that neoliberalism has created a new identity for young people around the world with the help of social media. Young people (in most cases, millennials)  develop themselves into a brand identity. Making youths to become performers of their own lifestyle by conducting himself/herself  as an enterprise through a vast ensemble of experiences. What is sold  and bought are our personal ideologies online (Gordon 1991:42).

In a recent survey conducted by YOUTUBE, people who post and earn a living through vlogs are between the age 16-24 and most of them are girls.

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This neoliberal identity is said to have  emerged  due to the widespread  unemployment rate in most countries of the world. Foucault’s discussions on power believes neoliberalism is a sure solution to the various problems facing a static economy. One could argue that  the absence of a white collar job can be the reason most young people have turned to social media to vent their frustrations and problems. T

THE TOKS STAR

Although, the idea of vlogging and blogging as a profession has not until recently gathered momentum in Nigeria. However, with the few vloggers are known in Nigeria, a certain lady who introduced the idea of vlogging to Nigerians stands out. Toke Makinwa. She is often tagged as a realist to some and a controversial lady  (with the main aim to seek attention) by others. She first started by giving relationship advice and what women ought to do to attract the man of their dreams as her tips had worked for her.  Unfortunately, her divorce to her long time boyfriend changed the course of her vlog as she began to question the social construct in Nigeria by advising young women to learn to live wild and free, be independent and open to exploring new things.

Herein lies the problem,  inasmuch as these vloggers portray themselves to us with the  ‘i am just like you’ tag, which might be true at inception of the vlog but when the endorsements roll in and when the vlog begins to pay the bills, and they are basking in the new euphoria of fame, selling products, endorsing brands and becoming brand ambassadors, should they still refer to themselves as authentic because many of the viewers still live in the illusion of the vloggers reality.

…but then, I am just saying!

African Pastors and their weird miracles

While thinking of the right way to go about my research topic, some African pastors have been trending on social media with their odd miracles. From those who asked members to eat grass, to those who use live snakes for miracles, then to those who beat up and inflict scars on children in the name of casting out the demon in the child, to those who starve their own children for stealing food from their mother’s pot and the most annoying and most recent a pastor who in the name of performing miracles placed a speaker on a member of his congregation and died in the process (and yet you don’t call that murder)

Woman Dies Following Pastor’s F*cked Up ‘Miracle’ Attempt

Now don’t get me wrong I love being a Christian but I detest the fact that some pastors are using religion to commit detestable crimes yet they are barely arrested for it. This topic is something I hope to look into and why the members of those congregation are foolish enough to follow these mundane activities.

In fact, I am considering changing my research topic but I need advice from my readers. what do you think about researching on the issue of religious leaders taking advantage of their congregation and the congregation being myopic in obeying?

…Single at 51?

Hi folks, missed me? I sure missed writing for a bit. I needed to take a break from theories until the thought of dissertation bumped into me again. I am sure by now (that is if you read and watched the previous blog) you know what my research topic is going to focus on.

In my quest to find meaning to why women are being pressured and stigmatised to getting married before 30, a friend of mine sent me this article of  Famous journalist Christina  Patterson who is unapologetically single at 51. according to her ”she loves her life being single”.

you can read the article at:

“I Love My Life Being Single at 51” – Christina Patterson

Rebecca Traister was probably right where she stated in her book  All the Single Ladies that unmarried women are quietly upending life as Americans know it, is now creating waves on both sides of the Atlantic. According to her, “ single ladies already show  they have the power to change America in ways that make many people extremely uncomfortable” meanwhile, the millions of young men also putting off marriage rarely seem to be the subject of public discomfort or, indeed, bestselling books.

I intended to look at how the Nigerian society has made singlehood seem like a disease with the increase in prayer houses and deliverance programs for singles in many religious organisations and show examples of single women who are countering the status quo.

 

Credits: The guardian.

Digital Story

Hi there, my name is Tolu Akintaro Welcome to my digital profile story.

my journey through research as a master’s student in Communication,culture and media started with my first day in media research class where I was first told to think of a research topic for my dissertation- I was a late enrollee so for me, confused was an understatement to how I felt . The essence of the I researcher was for students to think wide,think deep,think different and think upside down in some cases, think simple. The first topic I chose was on the objectification of women by men in the media and how viral advertising tools could be used to change the status quo. The topic was rather ambiguous to me, I found it hard to dissect it till I had an opportunity to visit Birmingham for an ethnography research that opened my eyes to research and research is live  in our everyday lives and activities- we breathe research, we sweat research we even sleep in research. It was then I remembered an incident that happened to me a couple of months ago where I was asked to visit a pastor for deliverance because I was still single and with the recent  increase in tv series and films from Africa that talk more on the singlehood ‘sickness’ . The scenario spurred my change in topic to Before 30: the labelling of single and unmarried women by  Nigerian women.

 

The singlehood identity placed on unmarried women according to Stevenson(2011) is found more in  societies with heteronormative ideologies who still hold on to the precepts of heterosexual marriages. Due to the fact that the pressure to get married is on the increase, the media has used this form of identity to increase its audience with reality shows like the bachelor, sitcom like Single ladies and even movies  (Dubrofsky & Hardy, 2008, p. 377). Nigeria has not been left out in this media trend as the title of this research was influenced by a current sitcom ‘Before 30 ‘ that portrays young ladies as desperate to get married. The above sitcom was one of the reasons why I wanted to research on how unmarried women are been labelled in Nigerian media both digital and terrestrial.

 

The next phase was to sketch the field i have chosen to research on.  I was to look at my topic from a broad picture. At this point, i had difficulties understanding what my lecturer requested I do consider I was unfamiliar with the new techniques of essay writing as it was totally different from how I was taught in my home country .I struggled with comprehending a vast number of theories  that related to post-feminist theories and post modernism. I  was focused on getting a good grade( which might not be a bad thing) without fully getting involved in my topic. I was stuck in  the quantitative approach to research for a long time, in fact… I just broke up with quantitative research to embrace the qualitative approach that deals with meaning rather than truth,statistics, charts, and really depressing calculations. Since I had  first-hand experience of the topic it made more sense to be thoroughly qualitative about it.

 

*** I wrote an ambiguous essay but the feedback helped me to restructure my topic.

 

The second stage was Beyond face value I had to focus more on the qualitative approach to research, at this point, I had chosen to use an auto-ethnographic approach but I was unsure of how much of myself I wanted to put out there. During the period of this second phase, I took a course in film studies where film critic Andre Bazin claims that people’s interest in a genre of film is influenced by how the actors have been able to live out their lives or fantasies on screen. It gave me an understanding of how I was to relate my experience to research but I was afraid to use myself as the case study for fear of getting shamed. Thankfully, my lecture advised it would be therapeutic. Unfortunately,  my essay did not turn out well because  I was still stuck in sketching the field and my writing style was not as academic enough. In fact it was more of a dialogue than an academic writing according to the feedback I received from it. In fact, I shed a tear during and after this essay because of the grade I got in it.

 

I had to indulge in reading a lot of articles, seminar notes and listened to recordings that related to my topic which was a criterion for the third phase of my research which was epistemology,ontology and methodology. The third phase was an eye opener, it exposed me to various theories that had been written on post-feminist theory though most of them were western scholars I discovered the number of African post-feminist was infinitesimal. My aim was to compare and contrast these theories on Feminist theories to my research topic since I hardly could lay my hands on African post-feminist scholars. It made me understand that most of the different  approaches to feminist theories were  due to scholars zest in finding meaning.

 

In the course of this study, I have learnt the importance of discourse and ideologies and how they shape conversations and  research. I believe that as each day passes, I would fully comprehend the topic and relate it to producing content for my newly created podcast site which is one area I am enthusiastic about.

 

Finally, for every stage through this research, I hope to use this quote  from Mills(1959)as a mantra:

 

“Be a good craftsman: Avoid any rigid set of procedures. Above all, seek to develop and to use…imagination. Avoid the fetishism of method and technique. Urge the rehabilitation of the unpretentious intellectual craftsman, and try to become such a craftsman  yourself. Let every man be his own methodologist; let every man be his own theorist; let theory and method again become part of the practice of a craft”

 

Mills 1959 p.224

 

#CheckPoint is #CounterPoint

After months of planning, travelling, calling for meetings, making presentations, sometimes tormenting my teammates just to get things done as soon as possible. We finally had to bring everything to an end on the 12th of July 2016. Still confused on what I am talking about?  I am talking about the media exhibition from our trip to Berlin. the theme for the exhibition was #CheckPointCounterPoint.

The aim of the exhibition was to critically explore Berlin’s barriers and restrictions, the creativity of the street, cultural identity through food cultures,light as a decoration and the cosmopolitan traveller. The interesting thing about this exhibition was that we all had to use theory to explain Everyday Berlin. I know it sounds interesting. i know but it took a while for every team to come to terms with what we were to do but finally…

The exhibition was produced by all students of MA communication Culture and Media. For a large number of us, it was our first time planning an exhibition. Though the pre-exhibition was nerve racking because it was sometimes challenging to communicate ideas to the Chinese students and sometimes, there was always a clash of ideas. I am glad we were able to overlook our differences and bring out something amazing!

 

#BerlinMemoirs: Comparing Abuja to Berlin

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While in Berlin, i saw so many things, people and activities that reminded me of Abuja, Nigeria. It seems to me that both cities have a lot in common . from the  street names (streets in Berlin were named after heroes ad activist during the Berlin war, the streets of Abuja were named after all those who in a way fought for Nigeria’s independence). Berlin is a city filled with people from various countries and cultures though originally for the Germans. Abuja is mostly occupied by people of different ethnic groups around Nigeria while the initial land owners Gbagyi’s  moved to small communities.anguages in Berlin are German,Dutch and English. Languages spoken in Abuja are English,Hausa and Pidgin.Languages in Berlin are German,Dutch and English. Languages spoken in Abuja are English,Hausa and Pidgin.

I watched as this lady entertained her audience who were compelled to stop at the traffic light. I gazed at her smile and body language that showed she enjoyed dancing to her less than a one-minute audience. I watched how she entertained all cars that had to stop at the light with so much joy and professionalism just to be given less than a Euro after every grande performance.

Her performance reminded me of a  traffic officer in Abuja,Nigeria who usually dances on the road while controlling traffic. Sergent Audu as he is fondly called was later given a national award for his diligence to work. But would she?

The Occupy movement started in Berlin and moved to other countries. Nigeria is one of the countries that supported the occupy movement. The movement in Berlin has  not been effective for a while, but OCCUPY NIGERIA has gained momentum especially with the economic and unemployment issues that affect the country.

I do not know how to theorise this or if there is a reason behind the similarities I discovered but I believe I shall understand by and by.

PS: Did I mention they  both have gates?

#BerlinMemoirs: wir lieben Straßenkunst

From Art critic Emilie Trice who calls it ‘the graffiti Mecca of the urban art world’ [though her statement is contested by other art critics], to UNESCO referring to it as the city of Design,then to various tourist admitting it is the most ‘bombed’ city in the whole of Europe. The city of Berlin cannot be mentioned without speaking of her street art.

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For the tourist who visit Berlin on a regular, most of the questions they ponder on are: Are the street arts legal and do they still represent expressionist movement/art?

Before diving into the questions, it is pertinent to understand how the street art came about.

Two decades after World War II gave Germany a hard blow, they found it daunting to regain all  that the war had taken from them.it took  years after the war for  Turkish and French migrants to occupy places that were destroyed by the war. For them to remember history and comment on the situation in Germany and the political world at the time, the migrants took to carving words on concrete and making temporary paintings on the  famous wall and on buildings. Overtime, it became a muse for other artists like XOOOOX, Mein Lieber Prost and Alias who turned places the military had occupied to a playground of  street art.

To answer the above question, it  is difficult for most Berliners to answer if street art is legal because the streets are filled with these art forms, but the artists are arrested if found painting on the walls. Though it seems illegal but tourist get mesmerised by these graffiti’s and as you know, tourists help to strengthen the economy.

In an interview with one of Germany’s ‘THE LOCAL’ newspaper, head of German Police anti-graffiti team Marko Moritz maintains that the Police regard graffiti as a criminal activity.According to Moritz, his team’s job is to arrest members whose paintings are not exactly rooted in the art but in what he terms as Gang Culture which he described as unscrupulous youths bombing buildings, trains and sidewalks with their signature and all shade of colours wich he expresses as a cruel way to deface public property.

While in Berlin, my teammates and I focused on Appiah’s theory of Cosmopolitanism as it relates to Baudrillard’s theory of the glass reflection. Our aim was to understand how and why cosmopolitans view these graffiti without expressing any form of feeling or aura. which brought about our use of a reflective glasses.

Details of those pictures are on http://www.mediaresearchmethods.wordpress.com or if you are in Coventry in July, visit us at the Glass box in the 11th-17th for the exhibition.

To answer the second question, I ask- do you consider the art you have viewed above expressionist?

I am of the opinion that all forms of art like Benjamin Walter express how the artist sees and understand his/her society. Some of the street art did not mean much to me but for the fact that the artist used a blend of interesting colours, i as every other cosmopolitan and tourist in Berlin had to click on our cameras shutter for memories.

 

 

#BerlinMemoirs

*In Ariana Grande’s Voice* We are going on a summer holiday….. Err… I wish that were  the case. My team and I are taking a  research trip to Hitlers city.

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Yep! Berlin here we come!

Our purpose of travelling is to relate various theories we have learnt in class to the history, culture and space in Berlin. As you might know, Berlin was one major city in Germany that experienced the student movement war popularly called’68 and  also the cold war. This great city has witnessed  development through artists and architects who have/had been victims of the war by creating expressionist art through buildings (architectural designs) and street art.

My team and I Hope to understand some part of the Berlin space through the theory of Cosmopolitanism. According to Kwame Appiah (2005), cosmopolitanism is not “Comme des Garcons-clad sophisticated with a platinum frequent-flyer card regarding, with kindly condescension, a ruddy-faced farmer in workman’s overalls.” However, it is the  ideal that expects us to be at ‘home in the world’, a situation where we temper respect for difference with respect for humanity. Cosmopolitanism should not only preach tolerance but also generate an obligation of hospitality and openness towards strangers (Appiah 2005). That been said, most of us undertaking this trip are international students and Novice to Berlin. we plan to take visual representations of  our emotions as cosmopolitans in a German space and how we take in the things that citizens usually take for granted. One of such is the architecture in Berlin. We hope to find out how/if the Dusseldorf students idea of new objectivity is still relevant in today’s society in Berlin. Another thing we hope to find out is the yearly event that happens in Berlin called: Fete de la Musique. Introduced into Berlin by the French in 1995.

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By the end of 1989 and beginning of 1990, Germany was entering into a state of reunification between east and west bloc. However, the country faced severe economic stagnation in the 80s. Due to the recession, the country open her doors to other countries like France to help with building the economy. One way France strengthened the German economy was through music.Fete de la Musique holds every 21st of June.

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we as researchers would like to understand:

  1. what makes citizens of other countries asides the German, French and Turkey*  visit every year?
  2. How can other international visitors partake in this event that showcases some form of ‘popular culture’ or consumer culture?
  3. How does the idea of ‘ free concerts’ made by the German Government help the influx of people for the festival?
  4. What has made the Berlinians continue with the festival since it was introduced to them by the French?
  5. Does the festival in any way celebrate the French culture in Paris or the Berlin culture in Germany?
  6. How has this event affected the way tourist view Berlinians/ What does this festival mean for the locals vis a vis the cosmopolitan?
  7. Does the festival have an emotional (aura) attachment to it? That represents Berlin and her history

And on that note… Sehen Sie in Berlin!

B.Walters Aura

Let’s have a little nostalgia moment or like the social media lingo, a throwback. Remember the days when you visited a museum, reserve or art gallery for the first time and you left with a ‘kind of unexplainable feeling’ of euphoria and enthusiasm. Well… unfortunately, or fortunately (depends on how you see it) that memory is going into extinction According to Benjamin Walters he terms this ‘feeling’ as an AURA. He defines the aura as:

”We define the aura…as the unique apparition of a distance, however near it may be. To follow with the eye—while resting on a summer afternoon—a mountain range on the horizon, or a branch that casts its shadow on the beholder, is to breathe the aura of those mountains, of that branch”(Walters 1930).

Though I am of the opinion that his definition does not fully explain what the aura means, Walters is of the opinion that modernity has dealt a great blow on the aura through its invention of the photographic camera that makes it possible to view history without experiencing the ‘feeling’.Benjamin  adds that the aura represents the originality and authenticity of a work of art which cannot be reproduced by a technological image.

However, he draws on the following questions:

a.What happens to Aura?

b. How is human sense perception related to history

c. Is he criticising a universal phenomenon?

Benjamin Laments that when the spectator of an image would realise the aura of an image is not present, the producers of the mechanical production would replace the aura with distraction as a mode of reception.

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”It falls back to the last entrenchment: the human countenance. In the cult of remembrance…the cult value of the image finds its last refuge. In the fleeting expression of a human face, the aura beckons from early photographs for the last time. This is what gives them their melancholy and incomparable beauty”.

 

This cult of genius would become a mythological space where humans would begin to find aura in places like a cinema. Though the truth about Benjamin Walters lamentations cannot and should not be under emphasised, However, I am of the opinion that the introduction of the technological image like Andre Bazin’s theory of cinema would help humans to store up memories of their existence at little or no cost.Take, for example, I as an individual would not have been able to see what the Monalisa looks(ed) like without the existence of the mechanical image neither would I have had the opportunity to see it at Musee le Louvre  because paintings such as the Monalisa would be classified. However, I am also in accordance with Walters because the experience you acquire from viewing an Everest  or any of the wonders of the world cannot be measured through a photographic image because technology is changing humanity’s entire mode of existence.