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The capital gap: Nollywood and the limits of informal trade

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Abstract:

This article examines Nollywood as a creative industry based in Africa's informal sector. By definition, the informal sector produces no financial records, so no quantitative economic data are presented. This research utilizes ethnographic methods and anthropological analysis to highlight the importance of the video movie industry to Nigerian people, its place in their economic life and its integral role in their culture. Nollywood's intimacy with Nigerians has been achieved by way of the industry's distinctive informal system of production and distribution. This same informality prevents the video industry from establishing financial legitimacy. Without the ability to generate capital, the industry is straining against its economic limits. Thus, the cultural success of Nollywood pushes it towards inevitable formalization and uncertain consequences.

Keywords: nigeria; nollywood; pan-african; popular; production; video industry

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jac.4.1.9_1

Affiliations: Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

Publication date: August 1, 2012

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  • The Journal of African Cinemas will explore the interactions of visual and verbal narratives in African film. It recognizes the shifting paradigms that have defined and continue to define African cinemas. Identity and perception are interrogated in relation to their positions within diverse African film languages. The editors are seeking papers that expound on the identity or identities of Africa and its peoples represented in film. 
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