I have had a pretty successful week. The best week that I have had thus
far!! I have been making minor changes to my topic as I discovered new
things. All the minor changes have added up to a large change. I did
not really notice this until last week.
Reason for the minor changes:
Before I left for Nigeria I read more about my topic and talked to more
Political Science professors who led me to realize that my question was a
bit too large. The reason is that it would be impossible to quantify the
impact of oil on a group of people. Doing so would require that I isolate
one single variable from the numerous issues at play in the region.
Secondly, when I came to Nigeria I was under the impression that there was a
universally accepted definition of youth, but I have come to find out that
I was wrong. Nigerian’s don’t have a ridged classification of who is a
youth and who is not. For example I interviewed a member of the Ijaw Youth
Council who has children, and is almost 40 years old. Last week A member of The Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People told me that a person can be a member of their youth organizations as long as his mind tells him that he is a youth. Thus it appears that my research is not really studying youth in the Western/American sense.
Additionally I Intended to focus mainly on peaceful youth organizations
because I thought youth involvement in ‘petro politic’ in the Niger delta
was a recent phenomenon, and because I believed that peaceful groups had
been ignored by reporters. However, I have learned that the new
phenomenon in the Niger delta is mass violence organized by youth groups, which is probably the reason why scholars have paid more attention to them. Also both peaceful youth groups as well as violent ones seem to be off-branches of larger Niger Delta movements that began in the 90’s.
Additionally I have been advised by indigenes of the Niger Delta and Niger Delta scholars not to call their political participation ‘petro-politics,’ but to call it “liberation struggles because it is about more than oil.”
Thus it appears that I am not studying just “petro politics” but social movements in the Niger delta.
I intended to submit this last week but my hard drive crashed, therefore this is a week old Ideas. I have one more week in Nigeria’s Niger Delta L