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Article contents

The world of the Yoruba taxi driver: an interpretive approach to vehicle slogans

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 December 2011

Extract

The purpose of this paper is to analyse the slogans which are so prominent and ubiquitous on motor vehicles as expressions of social stratification among the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria. I interpret the slogans in the context of the taxi owners' and drivers' social interactions, not just as disembodied expressions of a total Yoruba world view. In studying the slogans I pay particular attention to processes of accumulation of wealth, status mobility and the way these are affected by cultural values. It is argued that the vehicle owners make different claims at different stages of their careers. Their fears and hopes at each stage must be understood in the light of the contemporary Christian and traditional mix of beliefs about destiny, the world and God.

Résumé

Le monde du chauffeur de taxi Yoroubas: une tentative d'interprétation des slogans sur les véhicules

Cet article examine les slogans figurant sur les automobiles comme l'expression de la stratification sociale des Yoroubas du Nigéria du Sud Ouest. Il interprète ces slogans dans le contexte des interactions sociales des propriétaires et des chauffeurs de taxi et non pas comme des expressions désincarnées d'une vue d'ensemble du monde Yorouba. Des données se rapportant aux caractéristiques démographiques ainsi qu'à la vie et au passé des propriétaires et des chauffeurs ont été rassemblées et analysées. Cette enquête montre que 100 pour cent des chauffeurs sont des hommes. En ce qui concerne la propriété des taxis, la participation des femmes est en hausse. La plupart des taxis en circulation appartiennent à des gens âgés entre vingt-et-un et quarante ans. Le thème principal de cet article repose sur le fait que la lutte pour une mobilité sociale ascendante dépend des traditions culturelles qui déterminent la façon dont les chauffeurs et les propriétaires poursuivent leur but et choisissent leur identité.

Type
Mobility in south-west Nigeria
Information
Africa , Volume 58 , Issue 1 , January 1988 , pp. 1 - 13
Copyright
Copyright © International African Institute 1988

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