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dc.contributor.authorIbhawoh, Ahunsimere Bonny.en_US
dc.date.accessioned2014-10-21T12:38:27Z
dc.date.available2014-10-21T12:38:27Z
dc.date.issued2003en_US
dc.identifier.otherAAINQ83738en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10222/54588
dc.descriptionContemporary human rights discourse has produced a rather triumphant vision of the role of rights talk in securing progressive and transformative social change. Human rights have become the dominant language for public good around the globe and a language of choice for making and contesting entitlement claims, spawning what has been described as the "rights revolution." Within African studies, academic interest in the rights discourse has, for the most part, focussed on contemporary understandings of "universal human rights" in a way that overlooks how the language of rights has historically been deployed to further more complex and sometimes contradictory agendas.en_US
dc.descriptionThe thesis draws attention to the multi-layered discourses about rights and liberties employed by both the colonial state and Africans in the colonial and immediate post-colonial period. It examines how diverse interest groups within Nigerian society---colonial officials, missionaries, African elites, women groups, and later, nationalist activists---deployed the language of rights and liberties to serve varied socio-economic and political ends. It argues that the rights discourse was not a simple monolithic or progressive narrative.en_US
dc.descriptionIn both the colonial and immediate post-colonial dispensations, the language of rights was simultaneously deployed for purposes of legitimizing the status quo, opposing it and even negotiating it. Discussions about rights and liberties were central to the institution and promotion of British colonial hegemony. Colonial social and political objectives were couched in the language of rights and liberties. British incursion was justified on the grounds of liberating local peoples from despotic chiefs and protecting their rights as British subjects. In this regard, the language of rights, like that of "civilization" and "modernity," was an important part of the discourses deployed to rationalize and legitimize Empire.en_US
dc.descriptionHowever, the language of rights was not only a tool for legitimization. It was also an instrument of opposition, engagement and negotiation. Africans appropriated colonial rhetoric of rights and deployed it to challenge imperial policies and negotiate their positions within a changing society. The rhetoric of "native rights" and, later on, "universal rights" that underlined colonial propaganda became an important instrument with which Africans expressed dissent and articulated nationalist aspirations. Rights talk, which was a crucial factor in the rise of Empire, was also a factor in its eventual collapse. However, the rights discourse was not only relevant in the tension between colonizers and colonized. In both the colonial and immediate post-colonial periods, Nigerian elites also used rights talk to further class, ethnic, generational and gender interests. Thus, rights discourse facilitated domination at one moment, had a liberating effect at another and in between, was used to promote different agendas. By examining these long-standing traditions of rights talk and the complexities that underlie them, this thesis seeks to put the contemporary human rights discourse in Nigeria in historical context.en_US
dc.descriptionThesis (Ph.D.)--Dalhousie University (Canada), 2003.en_US
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherDalhousie Universityen_US
dc.publisheren_US
dc.subjectHistory, African.en_US
dc.titleBeyond power and privilege: Discourses of rights and liberties in western Nigeria, 1900--1966.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.contributor.degreePh.D.en_US
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