Corruption Sings Loudest: Music, Political Participation, and Impression Management

Corruption Sings Loudest: Music, Political Participation, and Impression Management

Ngozi Akinro (Texas Wesleyan University, USA), Emmanuel O. Nwachukwu (Winthrop University, USA) and Adaobi V. Duru (University of Louisiana at Monroe, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7295-4.ch007


In this chapter, the authors used framing analysis to examine the dynamics of music, social media, and politics. Based on framing and impression management theories, this study considers music as a tool to convey political messages and argues that political parties use music to spread positive narratives of their accomplishments to promote themselves and their flag-bearers while using negative narratives to vilify and attempt to delegitimize their opponents. The authors examined the lyrics of two songs, “Change Blues” and “The Truth Blues,” both viral political satires by opposing political parties, and discussed the songs' strong emphasis on corruption in Nigeria and ways in which the political parties attempted to use the songs to encourage political participation and for their image management.
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The use of social space to publicize and promote an agenda has become very popular in this era of digitization and social media (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). As more people continue to explore ways of bypassing mainstream media to reach their audience and communicate their messages, they continue to explore the potentials of the digital social space. This chapter explores the relationship between politics and music by analyzing strategies adopted by political organizations to reach their audiences using music distributed through social media platforms, as well as examining the dynamics between politics, self-promotion, and political participation. Specifically, we consider the use of music in Nigerian politics as a strategy to frame perspectives and influence thoughts. Through framing analysis, we examine Zoo music’s Change Blues and The Truth Blues: Corruption fights back by Zoom music. Both songs are viral political music created specifically for Nigerian audiences. Overall, this chapter provides an insight into Nigerian political parties’ attempt at impression management and political participation through music on a social space.

Various scholars have explored music and politics as they relate to community engagement (Hallam, Creech & Varvarigou, 2012), challenge the status quo (Street, 2003), and encourage citizen participation in politics (Street, Hague & Savigny, 2007). Others have looked at music use in times of war and violence (Baker, 2012), for marketing purposes (Hafez & Ling, 2006) and as a tool for political communication (Onyebadi, 2017). However, scholarly attention is yet to focus on music in the social space as a tool for political aggrandizement, especially in Nigeria. In this regard, this chapter discusses the unique strategies used by two political parties in Nigeria to promote their agenda, and how the parties incorporated music into their campaign to motivate political participation. We begin by discussing the songs and their genre. We build the theoretical framework and discuss music and political participation. Thereafter, we build a case for social media use in Nigeria, and then situate the chapter within framing analysis. Finally, we argue that music can be used as a tool to legitimize objectives, and influence or control an audience.

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