What Is Nigeria? Unsettling the Myth of Exceptionalism

Aghogho Akpome


This article explores perceptions and representations of Nigeria and Nigerians in the popular global imaginary. It analyses selected popular media narratives in order to foreground contradictions and paradoxes in the ways in which the country and people of Nigeria are discursively constructed. By doing so, it interrogates stereotypes of corruption and criminality as well as myths of exceptionalism about Nigeria and Nigerians originating from both within and outside the country. The analysis reveals that the generalised portrayal of Nigeria and Nigerians as exceptional social subjects is characterised by contradictions and inaccuracies in dominant representational practices and cannot be justified by the verifiable empirical information available on the country and its people.

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