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What’s the fuss about going natural?: Afropolitanism and the politics of black women’s hair
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Geography, Media and Communication. (Geomedia)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4774-4643
2017 (English)In: Spaces of the In-Between: An Interdisciplinary International Conference, Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2017Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Afropolitanism, sometimes described as ‘cosmopolitanism with African roots’, today exists on the pillar of ‘digital mobility’ (Gehrmann, 2016). In fact, in the discourse of Afropolitanism it is argued that the internet creates online communities that “subscribe to Afropolitan values and culture” (Abebe, 2016, para 4). These communities or their expressions of these values and cultures online have however not been subject of much research. The aim of this study is to reassess the debate of the ‘existence’ of an Afropolitan identity and investigate the role of Facebook groups in promoting (or undermining) the construction of an Afropolitan identity. We particularly explore the debate on ‘black natural hair’ on Facebook groups and trace the manifestations of Afropolitan identities through the discourses inspired by the ‘natural hair movement’ on these platforms. The natural hair movement rallies black women to abandon hair-straightening chemicals and embrace their natural African beauty. In ‘going natural’, African women in today’s globalized world could be argued to contest the “victim identity” (Mbembe, 2007) and project their hair (or hairstyle) as a symbol of their connection to African cultures and values. To explore the manifestation of Afropolitan identity, we employ digital content analysis in tracking the key defining terms of the debate around ‘black natural hair’ on Facebook groups. Our preliminary findings show commercial agenda and national politics define the discourses of ‘black natural hair’ while obscuring subtle expressions of Afropolitan identity

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2017.
Keyword [en]
Afropolitanism, black natural hair, cosmopolitanism, Facebook groups, identity
National Category
Media and Communications
Research subject
Media and Communication Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48589OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-48589DiVA, id: diva2:1096081
Conference
Geomedia 2017, Karlstad, Sweden, 9-12 May, 2017
Available from: 2017-05-17 Created: 2017-05-17 Last updated: 2017-08-08Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf