LINGUISTIC REPRESENTATION OF RELIGIOUS IDENTITY AND IDEOLOGY IN SELECTED POSTCOLONIAL NIGERIAN LITERATURE

Ikenna Kamalu, Isaac Tamunobelema

Abstract


One of the greatest threats to national development and the rights of individuals and groups in Nigeria and some parts of Africa is the growing increase in religious fundamentalism by major religions in the continent. The worsening economic fortunes of many African countries, poor and corrupt leadership, the increase in ethnic nationalism, oppression of the minority by dominant powers and ideologies, external influences from extremist groups (Islamic and Christian), among others, have been suggested as likely causes of religious fundamentalism in Africa. The postcolonial Nigerian nation has suffered calamitous losses from religious conflicts. Consequently, some of Nigeria’s 21st century writers have tried in their works to present a situation in which groups use language to construct individual and collective identities and ideologies, legitimise their actions and justify acts of violence against others. The grammatical resource of mood and transitivity employed by the writers in the text under consideration enables them to represent individual and group experiences as well as intergroup relations in social interactions. Therefore, working within the tenets of critical stylistics (CS) and critical discourse analysis (CDA), this study aims to expose the ideological motivations that underlie the expression of religious discourses in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus, Chidubem Iweka’s The Ancient Curse and Uwem Akpan’s Luxurious Hearses and their implications for national stability and development. The data reveal that the sociopolitical climate in postcolonial Nigeria breeds a culture of hatred, intolerance, violence, exclusion and curtailment of individual and group rights in the name of religion and these acts are expressed in diverse discourse-grammatical patterns.


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References


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