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Seeing and being the visualised 'Other': humanitarian representations and hybridity in African diaspora identities

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Abstract

This article examines how humanitarianism representations affect British Nigerian identities. It problematises the tendency within development literature to uncritically generalise British audiences of NGO representations as seemingly white. Studies further assume audiences interpret and are impacted by representations in largely undifferentiated ways. This assumption discounts the complexities and particularities of and within audiences and overlooks how humanitarian representations inform how (and why) audiences negotiate their racialised subjectivities. Applying Bhabha’s hybridity theory, this article reveals how Nigerian diaspora negotiate racialised identities vis-à-vis humanitarian representations in distinct and revelatory ways, including along the lines of social class. These Nigerian subject-makings are contingencies against problematic portrayals of Black African poverty and perceived racism mediated by whiteness. While focused on Nigerians, this work has implications for the racialised realities of UK-based Black Africans

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