Rose Marie Beck / Frank Wittmann: African Media Cultures [PDF]


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Transdisciplinary Perspectives

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320 pp.
2 b/w photos, 17 tables, 15 illustrations, 1 graph

Text language(s): English, French

The present work represents in detailed descriptions and interdisciplinary analyses the situation of (mass) media in present african societies. Media and Cultural Studies’ paradigms of globalisation have directed attention towards the role of (mass) media in our societies. Their focus is on how forms of communication develop and are being preserved in a transnational context, how people appropriate media, and which identities they create.

In spite of the growing importance of the notion of culture – variable systems of meaning which human beings deploy to define what things mean, and to code, organize and regulate their conduct towards one another – and its evident connection with (mass) media, African social science has not adequately dealt with the cultures of media in Africa.

Few media studies are available and academia has not yet discovered the variety, diversity and originality of media phenomena. The aim of this study is to unite scholars from across the disciplines to map the media cultures in Africa by analysing their actors, forms, practices, regulations and usages/uses in past and present times.

The authors intuitively have decided to treat what could be called ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ media under one roof – bead language, the griot, advertisement, internet, cell phones, radio, (modern) art, dress, fashion, proverbs, photography, (popular) music, comics, (tabloid) press, rock painting, church windows, (horror) film or video, (praise) names, carved pot lids, books, masks, drum language, television or poetry etc. Overall, four main contexts have emerged throughout this volume – a contrast between urban and rural cultures, media as agents of social change and conservatism, aesthetic aspects in communication, and the politicisation of entertainment.

The authors’ theoretical and methodological arrangement does not only offer a refreshing new perspective on the subject but also opens the way for further research.


Introduction –
Frank Wittmann / Rose Marie Beck:
Close Up. Encounters with African Media Cultures Articles

Nana Grey-Johnson:
The Story of the Newspaper in The Gambia

Frank Wittmann:
Breaking the Taboos. The Senegalese Tabloid Press as a Motor for Social Change

Jürg Schneider:
Speaking in Bubbles. Press Cartoons and Comics in Cameroon

Verena Böll:
Wall Paintings in Ethiopian Churches

Rose Marie Beck:
Speaking Potlids from the Lower Kongo (Cabinda/Angola)

Eric Adja:
La communication par les proverbes du fongbe (Sud-Bénin)

Christine Glanz:
The Challenges of Local Language Writers in Uganda. The Case of two Luganda Authors

Sandra Bornand:
Le Griot comme média (Niger)

Werner Graebner:
The Interaction of Swahili Taarab Music and the Record Industry. A Historical Perspective (Tanzania)

Jules Bagalwa-Mapatano:
La chanson populaire politique face à la violence politique au Congo-Zaïre post-Mobutu

Wisdom J. Tettey:
The Politics of Radio and Radio Politics in Ghana. A Critical Appraisal of Broadcasting Reform

André-Jean Tudesq:
La télévision en Côte d’Ivoire

Tobias Wendl:
Wicked Villagers and the Mysteries of Reproduction. An Exploration of Horror Movies from Ghana and Nigeria

Uwe Afmann:
Internet in Senegal

Adolphe Sanon:
Le cellulaire au Burkina Faso