Week 3 Oxford Street, Accra

The book Oxford Street, Accra written by Ato Quayson analyzes the development and transformation of one of the city’s most popular streets into a hub of commercial, pluralistic activity. The development, during this postcolonial period, of Accra into an urbanized space is seen as a result of globalization processes and the influence of transnational corporations and planning systems, which is described within the introduction of the book.

In chapter 4 “The Beautyful Ones”, Quayson examines Oxford Street through a different perspective, one that interprets the street not simply as a geographical but instead as “lively expressive archives of urban realities” (129). Looking at advertisements on billboards, he discusses how such displays fuse local ethnologies with “transnational imagescapes” and provides the example of cell phone advertising and vehicular slogans to demonstrate how the two come together. Quayson makes some very interesting to see just how multinational corporations influence the social realities of Oxford Street but also how the city of Accra has accepted such transnational influences into society. Should we be questioning whether all Ghanaian citizens have accepted these Western influences? Do you think that Ghana has truly reached a post-colonial state despite the fact that Western companies continue to be involved in Ghanaian society? Is the process of globalization seen as a positive or a negative within this situation?

Chapter 5 “Este loco, loco”, focuses on salsa dancing in particular and its relation to ‘gymming’ amoung youth to reinforce the presence of globalization and a global culture within Accra. Quayson notes how such activities have been able to minimize a cultural divide however there continues to be a divide in class lines between the two activities. Quayson goes on to discuss how salsa dancing came to Accra from Costa Rica through transnational and diasporic connections, which provides interesting insight into how different culture pieces are moved from one country to another. Once again we see how Ghana as adopted different aspects of other cultures into their own social fabric. This particular examples seems to be one that demonstrates a positive aspect of globalization, however what are some of the negative aspects that could arise as a result of such cultural flows?

M. Singlehurst 120372730


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