African audiences and users are rapidly gaining in importance and increasingly targeted by global media companies, social media platforms and mobile phone operators. This is the first edited volume that addresses the everyday lived experiences of Africans in their interaction with different kinds of media: old and new, state and private, elite and popular, global and national, material and virtual. So far, the bulk of academic research on media and communication in Africa has studied media through the lens of media-state relations, thereby adopting liberal democracy as the normative ideal and examining the potential contribution of African media to development and democratization. Focusing instead on everyday media culture in a range of African countries, this volume contributes to the broader project of provincializing and decolonizing audience and internet studies.
Table of Contents
1. Decolonizing and provincializing audience and internet studies: contextual approaches from African vantage points
Wendy Willems and Winston Mano
2. Media culture in Africa? A practice-ethnographic approach
Jo Helle Valle
3. ‘The African listener‘: state-controlled radio, subjectivity, and agency in colonial and post-colonial Zambia
4. Popular engagement with tabloid TV: a Zambian case study
Herman Wasserman and Loisa Mbatha
5. ‘Our own WikiLeaks’: popularity, moral panic and tabloid journalism in Zimbabwe
6. Audience perceptions of radio stations and journalists in the Great Lakes region
7. Audience participation and BBC’s digital quest in Nigeria
Abdullahi Tasiu Abubakar
8. ‘Radio locked on @Citi973’: Twitter use by FM radio listeners in Ghana
9. Mixing with MXit when you're ‘mix’: mobile phones and identity in a small South African town
Alette Schoon and Larry Strelitz
10. Brokers of belonging: elders and intermediaries in Kinshasa’s mobile phone culture
11. Agency behind the veil: gender, digital media and being ‘ninja’ in Zanzibar
Wendy Willems is Assistant Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK and Associate and an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Media Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She is co-editor of Civic Agency in Africa: Arts of Resistance in the 21st Century.
Winston Mano is Director of the Africa Media Centre and Reader in Media and Communication Studies at the University of Westminster in London, UK and Editor of the Journal of African Media Studies. He is also a Senior Research Associate in the School of Communication at the University of Johannesburg in South Africa.
"In Everyday Media Culture in Africa: Audiences and Users, we finally have a gem of an exploration into African media functioning as an integral part of Africans’ lived realities – whether it is the legacy media of newspapers, radio and television or the newer forms of social communication powered by the Internet and the rapid increase in the uptake of mobile telephony across the continent. The overall result – and perhaps one of the most important lessons pulsating throughout this work – is that the very notion of ‘Africa’ becomes a prism for analysing the social, political, economic and technological complexities that underpin media production and consumption in today’s Africa. The analytical potency in each of the chapters lies in how the authors succeed in dispelling the often ‘Orientalized’ myths about the continent, thereby drawing on the African media repertoire not only for self-analysis but also for linking the continent to the global project of truly internationalizing media studies." - Fackson Banda, UNESCO Programme Specialist, Media and Civic Participation Section
"How does one study an African audience nimble-footed in diversity and exposure to a myriad of media fodder in an increasingly sophisticated media landscape? Audiences and Users addresses this question by taking a closer look at everyday media cultures in Africa in an age of proliferation of dazzling media options for Africans to push the boundaries of creative agency and innovation. By taking seriously the socio-cultural context in which Africans embrace the new communicative technologies at their disposal, and by recognising the hierarchies that inform human relations, this book reiterates the centrality of ethnography and kindred observational research techniques for understanding the dynamics of persuasive communication and how audiences of different social backgrounds and positions relate to the media that target them and how they