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May 28, 2008

What is an Anthropologist Doing with Trade Policy

These past couple of days, I have been in Abuja, trying to learn about the trade policies of Nigeria and that of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) (the ECOWAS headquarters is in Abuja). Today, at a meeting with a trade policy official at the Nigerian ministry for commerce and industry, after some discussion, I chanced to mention that I am an anthropologist. He looked at me and asked. 'What is an anthropologist doing with trade policy?'

May 22, 2008

UEFA Championship Finals in Cotonou

I am not a football fan but I spent much of last night watching football at the house of a friend who is a Manchester United fan. We were about 7 in the apartment - three were Manchester United fans, and the other three were Chelsea fans. I am not really a fan of any club, mainly because I know very little about the game. But since the friend in whose house I was watching the game was a Man U. fan, and since my younger brother too is, I decided to support Chelsea. As you all probably know by now, the match ended in a tie, and it had to be decided by a penalty shout out. It was really interesting to watch the reaction of my friend when Cech caught Ronaldo’s kick. He went pretty lame and quiet, and he stayed that way until Terry lost his. Yea, it turned in Man U’s favour during the second round of the shoot out. My friend and the other two Man U supporters – around here they are called MUF (Members of the United Family) – leapt up and had a really crazy dance. My friend invited us out for a drink, and spent the next one hour making congratulatory calls to other MUFs

I later learnt that there was a pub down the road where Chelsea fans had paid for all the drinks, and where only Chelsea supporters were allowed in. That shows the popularity of the clubs among Nigerians. I have been asking questions about the reason for the popularity of the English Premier League in Nigeria but nobody has ben abe to give me any satisfactory reply.

This morning I went to eat in at a bukateria ,and the main topic of discussion was last night’s game. One of the customers said that Man Utd was destined to win the match. Another replied that he too thought so. Didn’t we notice that Chelsea ‘pressed’ Man Utd in the second half of the match? He was pretty sure that Man Utd was going to win when two shots from Chelsea men hit the bar during the second half. Then I got thinking about what we mean by destiny. Is it simply one of those terms/concepts people throw around when there are things they cannot explain?

May 21, 2008

Fieldwork

After stumbling on Cicilie's and Mary Stevens' blogs, I have decided to blog about my ongoing fieldwork. My PhD research is on informal transborder trade between the Republic of Benin and Nigeria, and I am currently on fieldwork in the used clothing market in Cotonou, the border area between the two countries and the retail markets in Lagos. Will keep adding things as they come up.