Challenging the Frivolities of Power: The Ubiquitous Camera and the Nigerian Political Elites

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Abstract / Description of output

The last decade has witnessed the ubiquitous presence of camera devices, from conventional cameras to communication gadgets (such as mobile phones, iPads and tablets), built with the capacity to produce, edit, disseminate and interact through photographs. In this article, I analyse visual materials circulated on Facebook, YouTube and Nairaland (a locally popular social-networking website used by Nigerians) to demonstrate how the ubiquity of the camera, its overt and surreptitious use, and the transformation and circulation of the resulting photographs constitute political acts in a postcolonial African context. The camera's ubiquity encompasses the increasing availability of photographic devices, but also the growing, and politically charged, inclination to put them to use, framing the world through which their users move. The production and dissemination of the resulting photograph gives it the status of an eyewitness account, amidst contestations that heighten its force as political articulation. Lastly, the ubiquitous camera is a means through which the public observes, polices and exposes the duplicity of state functionaries. The article contributes to an understanding of the ways in which digital infrastructure allows public access to the political undertaking of photography.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)286 - 302
Number of pages16
JournalAfrica: Journal of the International Africa Insititute
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2019


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