Structure and Power Struggle in Contemporary Nollywood: An Ethnographic Evaluation
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Structure and Power Struggle in Contemporary Nollywood: An Ethnographic Evaluation

Authors: Ezinne M. Igwe


Statements of facts have been made about Nollywood, a segment of the Nigerian film industry that has in recent times become phenomenal due largely to its quantity of production and specific production style. In the face of recent transformations reshaping the industry, matters have been arising which have not been given due academic attention from an industry player perspective. While re-addressing such issues like structure, policy and informality, this study benefits from a new perspective – that of a community member adopting participant observation to research into a familiar culture. With data drawn from an extensive ethnographic study of the industry, this paper examines these matters with an emphasis on structure and the industry’s overall political economy. Drawing from discourses on the new and old Nollywood labels and other current matters arising within the industry such as the MOPICON bill redraft, corporate financing and possibilities of regeneration, this paper examines structure and power struggle within Nollywood. These are championing regenerative processes that bring about formalization, professionalism and the quest for a transnational presence, which have only been superficially evaluated. Focused essentially on Nollywood’s political economy, this study critically analyses the transforming face of an informal industry, the consistent quest for structure, quality and standard, and issues of corporate sponsorship as possible trends of regeneration. It evaluates them as indicators of regeneration, questioning the possibilities of their sustenance in an industry experiencing increased interactions with the formal economy and an influx of young professionals. With findings that make sustained regeneration both certain (due to increased formal economy interaction) and uncertain (due to the dysfunctionality of the society and its political system), it concludes that the transforming face of the industry suggests impending gentrification of the industry.

Keywords: Formalization, MOPICON, Nollywood, Structure.

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