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Nationalism in a Virtual Space: Immigrant Nigerians on the Internet

Misty Bastian


This article begins with a quote from Iain Chambers about the physical and cultural differences of London and Lagos—but also about how those differences can be seen as an aperture, an opening, a “hinge” (in his terms) that enables movement between metropoles. There is something, if we can believe Chambers, in Lagos that London wants; just as there is something in London that Lagos wants. Generally in immigration studies this equation is phrased so as only to represent a one-dimensional directionality: from the point of view of Lagosians wanting London. But Chambers is trying to suggest that globalization and what Appadurai (1996: 5) might call the “imagination” of the globalized cannot move in only one direction. Otherwise, how can these concepts be “global” in any real sense? In the material that follows, I want to complicate things even more than this to suggest that Lagosians in London also want Lagos—or, perhaps more accurately for my own work, that Abeokutans in Pittsburgh want Lagos or Onitshans in Washington D. C. desire Abuja, Nigeria's new capital territory. For not all metropolitan immigrants from a single country come from the same metropolis, and not all nationalist immigrants conceptualize themselves as citizens of exactly the same nation.

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West Africa Review. ISSN: 1525-4488 (online).
Editors: Adeleke Adeeko, Nkiru Nzegwu, and Olufemi Taiwo.

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