Understanding Contemporary Ghanaian Political Culture: The Role of Popular Media Genres


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Arts & Sciences


In this project, I argue that in contemporary Ghana’s democratic culture, the entanglement of popular media genres in democratic politics, within an agency and resistance framework, cannot adequately account for the varied mediations of the relationship between ordinary citizens and the state. The project, with its focus on informal arenas of political engagement, will investigate and thus provide insights into the complex dynamics of power in contemporary Ghanaian politics. Specifically, I examine some social and political issues in four Ghanaian popular genres - political cartoons, wayside calendar-posters, video-movies and ‘political’ hiplife music – that provide alternative mediated perspectives to sanitized official positions. Through the analysis of these genres’ composite themes, I underscore their relevance to a holistic understanding of political communication and political understanding.