African Media Cultures – Cultures de médias en Afrique

African Media Cultures – Cultures de médias en Afrique

African Media Cultures – Cultures de médias en Afrique

ISBN 978-3-89645-246-7

African Media Cultures – Cultures de médias en Afrique

Transdisciplinary Perspectives – Perspectives transdisciplinaires

Edited by: Rose Marie Beck, Frank Wittmann. With contributions by: Eric Adja, Uwe Afemann, Jules Bagalwa-Mapatano, Rose Marie Beck, Sandra Bornand, Verena Böll, Christine Glanz, Werner Graebner, Nana Grey-Johnson, Adolphe Sanon, Jürg Schneider, Wisdom J. Tettey, André-Jean Tudesq, Tobias Wendl, Frank Wittmann.

Series: Topics in Interdisciplinary African Studies Volume 2

320 pp.
2 b/w photos, 17 tables, 15 illustrations, 1 graph
Text language(s): English, French
Format: 160 x 240 mm
510 g
€ 39.80

The present work represents in detailed descriptions and interdisciplinary analyses the situation of (mass) media in present african societies. Media and Cultural Studies’ paradigms of globalisation have directed attention towards the role of (mass) media in our societies. Their focus is on how forms of communication develop and are being preserved in a transnational context, how people appropriate media, and which identities they create.

In spite of the growing importance of the notion of culture – variable systems of meaning which human beings deploy to define what things mean, and to code, organize and regulate their conduct towards one another – and its evident connection with (mass) media, African social science has not adequately dealt with the cultures of media in Africa.

Few media studies are available and academia has not yet discovered the variety, diversity and originality of media phenomena. The aim of this study is to unite scholars from across the disciplines to map the media cultures in Africa by analysing their actors, forms, practices, regulations and usages/uses in past and present times.

The authors intuitively have decided to treat what could be called ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ media under one roof – bead language, the griot, advertisement, internet, cell phones, radio, (modern) art, dress, fashion, proverbs, photography, (popular) music, comics, (tabloid) press, rock painting, church windows, (horror) film or video, (praise) names, carved pot lids, books, masks, drum language, television or poetry etc. Overall, four main contexts have emerged throughout this volume – a contrast between urban and rural cultures, media as agents of social change and conservatism, aesthetic aspects in communication, and the politicisation of entertainment.

The authors’ theoretical and methodological arrangement does not only offer a refreshing new perspective on the subject but also opens the way for further research.


Introduction –
Frank Wittmann / Rose Marie Beck:
Close Up. Encounters with African Media Cultures Articles

Nana Grey-Johnson:
The Story of the Newspaper in The Gambia

Frank Wittmann:
Breaking the Taboos. The Senegalese Tabloid Press as a Motor for Social Change

Jürg Schneider:
Speaking in Bubbles. Press Cartoons and Comics in Cameroon

Verena Böll:
Wall Paintings in Ethiopian Churches

Rose Marie Beck:
Speaking Potlids from the Lower Kongo (Cabinda/Angola)

Eric Adja:
La communication par les proverbes du fongbe (Sud-Bénin)

Christine Glanz:
The Challenges of Local Language Writers in Uganda. The Case of two Luganda Authors

Sandra Bornand:
Le Griot comme média (Niger)

Werner Graebner:
The Interaction of Swahili Taarab Music and the Record Industry. A Historical Perspective (Tanzania)

Jules Bagalwa-Mapatano:
La chanson populaire politique face à la violence politique au Congo-Zaïre post-Mobutu

Wisdom J. Tettey:
The Politics of Radio and Radio Politics in Ghana. A Critical Appraisal of Broadcasting Reform

André-Jean Tudesq:
La télévision en Côte d’Ivoire

Tobias Wendl:
Wicked Villagers and the Mysteries of Reproduction. An Exploration of Horror Movies from Ghana and Nigeria

Uwe Afmann:
Internet in Senegal

Adolphe Sanon:
Le cellulaire au Burkina Faso



Beck and Wittmann’s volume is a most welcome contribution about types and uses of traditional and modern media in Africa. Their volume is divided into fifteen chapters preceded by a comprehensive introduction and followed by some information about the authors (profession, affiliation, post and email-address). [...]

The book is a valuable contribution to communication science and African Studies and it fulfills the editor’s ideal of a comprehensive volume on the variety of media in Africa to a high degree.

[Vollständiger Text / Complete review:]

Helma Pasch in Afrikanistik-online,, pp. 7-19

The volume is truly transdisciplinary in its scope and is a welcome addition to the study of African societies as complex convergences of urban and rural cultures, advanced technology, and richly diverse spiritual and aesthetic practices. Many of these short essays, written in French and English, will have a wide appeal to a variety of scholars in African studies, media studies and communication, and postcolonial and cultural studies. [...] The many changing forms of African media presented in this volume enrich contemporary discourse and cultural inquiry.

Michael Janis in African Studies Review, 48/3, 2005, pp. 205-206

Afrikawissenschaftler haben endlich die Bedeutung der Medien für die kulturellen Kommunikationsprozesse dieses Kontinents entdeckt – so der Tenor der Herausgeber dieses Sammelbandes, der neben einer Einleitung zehn englisch- und fünf französischsprachige Beiträge enthält, die das heterogene Feld afrikanischer Medienlandschaften adressieren. [...] Erfreulich ist, dass der Medienbegriff nicht allein auf technische Medien begrenzt wurde, sondern neben Beiträgen zu Massenmedien auch Aufsätze zu performativen und bildenden Künsten vertreten sind.

Matthias Krings in MEDIENwissenschaft, 1/2005, pp. 42–44

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