Reading Wealth in Nigeria: Occult Capitalism and Marx's Vampires

Smith, A. (2001) Reading Wealth in Nigeria: Occult Capitalism and Marx's Vampires. Historical Materialism(9), pp. 39-59.

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Examines the growth of the video film industry in Nigeria, focusing on the production & consumption of horror films & their depictions of occultism & the accumulation of wealth. Karl Marx's use of the 'occult aesthetic' in his analysis of the allocation of wealth under capitalism is reviewed, & parallels are drawn to the supernatural nature of wealth accumulation depicted in one Nigerian horror film. The relationship between such imaginative productions & material conditions in Nigeria is demonstrated, also revealing reasons for the wide appeal of this film genre to Nigerian audiences, particularly those of the middle & lower strata. Data from a questionnaire survey conducted in Jos, Plateau State, reveal the predominance of attitudes toward Western society (specifically, the US & UK) as 'lands of opportunity' where work is rewarded, unlike their own society, where wealth is so out of reach for the majority that it is more likely to be attributed to 'supernatural' intervention.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Accumulation, Films, Marxist Analysis, Mass Media Images, Nigeria, North And South, Occultism, Supernatural, Wealth, Low Income Groups, Social Attitudes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Smith, Professor Andrew
Authors: Smith, A.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Historical Materialism

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