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The world in creolisation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 December 2011


From the time when I first became entangled with the Third World, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, I have been fascinated by those contemporary ways of life and thought which keep growing out of the interplay between imported and indigenous cultures. They are the cultures on display in market places, shanty towns, beer halls, night clubs, missionary book stores, railway waiting rooms, boarding schools, newspapers and television stations. Nigeria, the country I have been most closely in touch with in an on-and-off way for some time, because of its large size, perhaps, offers particular scope for such cultural development, with several very large cities and hundreds if not thousands of small and middle-size towns. It has a lively if rather erratic press, a popular music scene dominated at different times by such genres as highlife, juju and Afro-beat, about as many universities as breweries (approximately one to every state in the federal republic), dozens of authors published at home and abroad, schoolhouses in just about every village, and an enormous fleet of interurban taxicabs which with great speed can convey you practically from anywhere to anywhere, at some risk to your life.


Le monde en créolisation

L'étude des cultures contemporaines du Tiers Monde, et pas des moindres en Afrique, a encore à tenir compte de la réorganisation et de la transformation des structures de sens et des formes significatives qui ont résulté de leur incorporation dans un système mondial. En se basant particulièrement sur des exemples nigériens, on dénote ici que l'image conventionnelle d'une mosaïque de cultures ethniques qui continue de prédominer à la fois dans le domaine des connaissances anthropologiques et du journalisme est peu satisfaisante et que la diversité culturelle doit être maintenant comprise dans un vaste cadre de relations centre-périphérie, où les cultures nationales émergent historiquement grâce à une interaction entre les courants culturels transnationaux et les cultures locales et régionales. Le système de l'enseignement, la culture populaire et les média sont marqués comme étant des domaines où les influences culturelles transnationales jouent un rôle important dans la formation des nouvelles cultures nationales. Il est également suggéré que l'étude des transformations culturelles du Tiers Monde dans un contexte global bénéficierait d'une perspective de créolisation qui permettrait de reconnaître de façon adéquate les réactions culturelles créatives des sociétés du Tiers Monde aux influences métropolitaines.

Culture and language
Copyright © International African Institute 1987

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