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When Sex Threatened the StateIllicit Sexuality, Nationalism, and Politics in Colonial Nigeria, 1900-1958$
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Saheed Aderinto

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038884

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038884.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

“This Is a City of Bubbles”

“This Is a City of Bubbles”

Lagos and the Phenomenon of Colonial Urbanism

(p.24) Chapter 1 “This Is a City of Bubbles”
When Sex Threatened the State

Saheed Aderinto

University of Illinois Press

This chapter discusses the socioeconomic, gendered, and racial structure of colonial Lagos and reveals the identities of individuals and groups that shaped sexual politics. While the British were mostly responsible for the major physical infrastructure, they did not dictate or monopolize the accompanying social outlook that emerged out of Lagosians' quest to mold the city to their own taste. City life entailed maintaining a balance in the ways people lived their lives; the kinds of music they enjoyed; and how they socialized, dressed, and conducted themselves as they sought to maximize the benefits of colonial capitalism. The chapter then explores inter-ethnic and intra-ethnic relations and concludes that the politics of sex fit into the existing tension over urban citizenship, class stratification, and social privileges accruing from the pigmentation of the skin. It argues that the agitation against prostitution reflected a social ambivalence that can be termed as “selective modernity.”

Keywords:   colonial Lagos, sexual politics, colonial capitalism, racial relations, selective modernity, prostitution, urban citizenship, class stratification

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