Godwin Iretomiwa Simon

Ambivalence of informality: Covid-19 and unmasked precarity in Nollywood

  • Cultural Studies

This article explores the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on the Nigerian film industry (Nollywood) and the local responses of filmmakers to the precariousness engendered by the pandemic. This research adopts the critical media industry studies framework and relies on interviews with 30 Nollywood filmmakers who provided insights on the impact of the pandemic on labour in Nollywood. Theorizing the Covid-19 dynamics as reflective of the ambivalence of informality, this article submits that although informality was central to Nollywood's industrial structure and sustainability, the pandemic triggered unprecedented tensions associated with those informal practices and highlighted existing precarity which had been largely masked by constant availability of jobs. Accordingly, a significant legacy of the pandemic for the industry is the unprecedented gravitation of industry players towards more formalized industrial structures and practices.

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