Igbo caste practices: persistence and public attitudes in the media

Okwelume, Obinna Charles (2010). Igbo caste practices: persistence and public attitudes in the media. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Abstract

For over a century, several minority caste groups have suffered discrimination in eastern Nigeria. They include former slaves and servant groups known as osu or ohu as well as other names and are generally referred to as caste groups. Forbidden to associate freely with the freeborn, these groups still maintain their stigma. The origins of the caste groups lie in the past. However, after 1900, they started to struggle for emancipation. Since then, discrimination against them has been abolished many times. Yet the practice remains persistent. At the same time, the discrimination against the caste groups continues to exercise the public and private imagination and it is depicted and discussed in various ways in the media, from newspapers to films and even in internet forums. Using oral sources and commentaries in the media, this thesis argues that Igbo socio-political life has continued to sustain this practice even as it pretends to reject it. The general attitude to discrimination against the caste groups has been that it is barbaric. Yet, the freeborn still find it difficult to embrace them. Reasons for this include a range of fears, but most importantly fear of social ostracism. The thesis argues that the media has engaged in the struggle to change the situation by providing a platform for debate about the practice. However, this has had little impact because of the nature of Igbo socio-political life.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence:
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures, Centre for West African Studies
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/1012

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