Same and Other

Negotiating African identity in cultural production

Mai Palmberg



The idea of African Otherness has occupied a central role in discourses on cultural production in Africa, whether film, literature, music or the arts. These claims, articulated both by 'Western' and 'African' critics and consumers, means that particular criteria and standards are adopted in relation to cultural production in Africa. The claim to African Otherness is gaining new strength in the wake of globalization, but it is also increasingly challenged by a number of contemporary artists. This book deals with the question of relevance and meaning of the signifier in various fields of contemporary cultural production in Africa.


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Mai Palmberg is a political scientist from Finland, and worked at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala. She was coordinator of a research and network project "Cultural Images in and of Africa" and conducted and edited interviews for "The State of the Arts in Zimbabwe.