Signal and Noise by Brian Larkin

Jane M M By Jane M M, 5th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Society, Politics & Philosophy

This article is a review of Noise and Signal book by Brian Larkin a well known writer. In this book,he focusses on Nigeria. The book is very informative to those who know less about the country.

Signal and Noise by Brian Larkin

Africa was considered the Dark Continent due to the fact that it remained a misery to the Europeans for quite a long time. It was not until the nineteenth century that the Europeans started to fully explore Africa. This led to African colonization and later independence. However, this freedom did not take place overnight. Most countries had to fight the Europeans in order to regain their sovereignty. Brian Larkin’s study of Nigeria depicts a clear scenario on what transpired when the Europeans settled in Africa and the tactics they used to portray their worth. Europeans assumed that the Africans were primitive people. They felt compelled to introduce technology in order to enlighten the Africans. It was one way of saving the poor Africans from their uncivilized way of life. Developing of technologies was one way through which they would assert their rule and influence to the Africans. A close reading of Larkin’s work reveals that these developments had hidden agendas. They were established to strengthen the colonial rules and to make the Africans worship these rulers for saving them from their primitiveness. Through radio signals the colonist would pass their message across to the Africans. Through infrastructures like the roads and railways they would connect to other areas making it easier for them to rule.
The development of these technologies did more good than what the Europeans expected. The Africans quality of life changed; they could carry out their activities at night because they had electricity as well as spend their leisure time watching movies. Technology opened up city spaces and hence urban life. Through cinemas Nigerians got an opportunity to experience other cultures beyond their own. However, as Larkin’s points out, the radio technology created a gap because only few people had access to this technology. This was especially accessible to city dwellers only. The development and growth of film industry in Nigeria has been successful as compared to other African countries. Today people all over Africa and other parts of the world can access films from Nigeria made Nollywood (their Hollywood version). The film industry is growing but the piracy rate is at an all-time high making it challenging for the film makers to make a decent livelihood. Through piracy the Nigerians are not only defrauding film industries from other countries but from theirs as well. Larkin argues that piracy has enabled the Nigerians to access the global media culture which had been regulated due to religious issues and the like. Although it is accepted by the consumers, piracy poses a danger to the local film and artist’s. It hinders local businesses from growing as well as eroding of the industry as a whole. The rapid growth of media in Nigeria has been attributed to piracy. When first the technology was introduced, Nigerians only watched dated films from India and the United States. Larkin’s states that piracy is part of shadow economy and it extends even beyond the law. It only generates profits for the perpetrators but no revenue for the state. There is a need for the government to put strategic measures on how to fight piracy and make artists earn a fair share of their work.
Signal and Noise book can be found on or google books


Colonization, Enlightenment, Nigeria, Nollywood, Sovereignty

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author avatar Jane M M
My areas of focus include issues facing women, family and friends stories, children experiences, personal life experiences,daily events around the world among others.

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