Passages of culture: Media and mediality in African societies
Journal of African Media Studies
Pages / Article-Number
change, culture, curiosity, mediality, new media, suspicion
How do African cultures transform when they appropriate new media? This introduction to the following five articles raises and reflects basic questions related to the many transformations that African societies currently go through when they are faced with new media. It situates the concept of mediality in the social practice of those who deal with and experience media. As instances of the in-between, as bridges between actors and their life-worlds, media reveal specific aspects of social life and hide others. They simultaneously nourish curiosity and suspicion and thus, the users transform their life-worlds through media. What media do to culture depends as much on their specificities as on the actors and their agency: their habits, judgement and imagination. Studying media and cultural transformations in Africa hence calls for thorough empirical research that analyses how the use of media has affected sensory experience and the sense that the actors make of their experience in new meaningful practices. Media in Africa also call for new research methodologies. The findings presented in this collection are the outcome of an international research network that allowed African and European scholars to cooperate and to share their experiences with new media in the field sites.