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Individualization in a Web of Kinship System among Nigerian Families: An Emerging Urban Phenomenon

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Individualization, Kinship, Patriarchy, Marginality, Third-world
  • Modo, Prof. Innocent V. O.
  • Chineyemba, Dr. (Mrs. ) Lydia Isioma
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Creative Commons License:
The paper looks closely at the issue of individuals exercising autonomy across the life circle as alien to indigenous cultural families in Nigeria. Individualization as a way of life, at best, is an urban practice with less than 5% adherents and viewed as people in psychological isolation. Uyo metropolis is chosen as the research zone. In spite of the urban characteristics of anonymity, kingroup affiliation, religious groups, cults (foreign and indigenous ones) have close socio-cultural affiliation in Uyo metropolis. Using culture of poverty theory and lineage descent stability model as point of departure for explanation, the paper argues that individualism within a plurality of family forms in Uyo metropolis could have resulted from culture of discontent or upper class isolation or alienation and to some large extent, culture of poverty. The argument here is that individualization could be a development indicator in an industrial society while it denotes marginality, dependence and inferiority in the Uyo metropolis; a third world city. This paper, observes that individualization within the family circle in Uyo metropolis can be seen among a few second and third generation emigrants who are postmodernist in outlook. The paper gives some definite narratives of autobiographic case studies of families, the analyses of which show that patriarchy is weakening in Uyo metropolis and that single parenting is not well spoken of even in the metropolis. The paper notes the overbearing nature of kinship system in Uyo urban but notes the relativity in culture with regard to the deviation from the European social system. It concludes by observing that individualization, internationalization and the European system of family policy that are becoming a global phenomenon are still alien but not far away from Uyo metropolis urban since the young people are embracing the exotic culture in large numbers.

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