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The Bulldozer and the Word

Culture at Work in Postcolonial Nairobi

Raoul Granqvist

This book examines the operating of cultural work in postcolonial Nairobi from the view that it drives modernity, survival and processes of empowerment. It depicts a city of global and spatial aspirations, divided by a past that transcends its present. It is a neo-colonial and acquisitive city; Western cultural institutions dominate the marketplace. An associative aspect is the gendered city space (streets, bars, pubs), which is overwhelmingly masculine. The book demonstrates that women’s marginalisation impacts variously on the city’s texts, its fiction, theatre, and the iconography of the Matatu vehicle. The major theme of the book is the struggle for cultural recognition and authority. Strategies of social and political accommodation coalesce both creatively and antagonistically in this formulation of Kenyan self-identification.
Contents: Nairobi Culture – Postcolonial City Culture – Western Culture in Africa – African Urban Culture – Cultural Studies Africa – Masculinity and Culture – Urban Culture and Gender – Iconography and Culture – African Popular Literature – Imperial Studies.